Maybe I’ve got a sign on my metaphorical back that says “Stretch Me.” Maybe God has something big in mind ahead of me and my spiritual muscles just need to jump some more hurdles and do some more high intensity workouts. With multiple repetitions. But this walk of faith seems to keep throwing me curve balls.

Or some other reasonably appropriate sports analogy.

I was asked recently to speak at a Bible study about Faith and Trust. I smiled and thought, “Great. I have all these challenging things I’m facing right now. But God will resolve them before it’s time for me to speak about this at the Bible study, and then I’ll have some great stories about how He met me in the challenges.”

And then some time went by, and a little more, and things weren’t resolved yet.

I still have some time before I am supposed to speak, but not seeing resolution, I began to wonder if maybe I should be looking to learn a different lesson.


{Although this is the Hubs and the Bear, I think it could also easily be a picture of God and me. The walk of faith, one step at a time…}

Alongside just being hopeful that something cool would happen for me to share, you’ll be glad to know I also spent some time actually preparing for the talk. Along with reading other writers’ discussions of faith and belief, I began taking special note of how Jesus spoke about faith, and what God said to His people as He instructed them to have faith in Him as they were moving toward the Promised Land.

And isn’t the Word so amazing in its ability to do this: a verse I’d read in perhaps every English translation of the Bible, and memorized and pondered for years jumped out at me with fresh meaning again.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” {Heb. 11:6, NIV}


“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” {same verse, NKJV}

This must mean that if I am supposed to speak about faith, I am supposed to speak about the process, and not the end result. Because faith is being sure of what we’re still hoping for. Faith is trusting that we are going to see something that we don’t yet see.

Who hopes for something they already have? {Unless they’re waiting on a bunch of boxes that are sailing across the ocean with most of their worldly possessions inside…I suppose that was having faith that they would make it here.}

We hope for what we don’t yet have in our hands. We hold on, and wait with hope, for something that hasn’t happened yet.

And faith is the stuff that keeps us holding, keeps us trusting, gives us a sense of knowing — it is coming. It will happen. He is faithful.

One of the big areas where we’ve been challenged to trust for a long time now, and where we’ve been especially holding on to faith recently, is in the area of finances. Part of the Hubs’ salary comes from the missions organization he works for, but part of it he raises himself. {In case that doesn’t make sense, that basically means a team of awesome and generous people financially support us, often on a regular basis, to make our ministry possible. [The same way we were supported as missionaries in Scotland and South Africa.]}

Each month the numbers are different, and each month I get the same sense: the Lord wants us to trust in Him. Although it feels like it’s a harder way to live than going out and getting a nine-to-five with a consistent paycheck, I consistently sense God saying You are where I want you. I want you to keep trusting Me.

Not long after the Hubs and I married, we decided to add an additional percent to our tithe each year we were married. So it increased from 10% to 11% to 12% and so on. We’re now at 14%, and though the first ten always goes to the church, we subtract our gifts to Compassion (sponsoring a child) from the other 4%, and then consider where the rest should go. Because our income is different every month, and we have to know the full amount to calculate the 14% and deduct the Compassion gift, we usually wait until the end of the month to figure it all out and write a check.

But a while ago I started to get a little uneasy about that process. God clearly demonstrates His desire, throughout Scripture and in no uncertain terms, to be first in our lives. From the beginning, He was pleased with Abel’s offering because he brought the firstfruits of the harvest. He told the people of Israel that the firstborn of all Israel was His — the first lamb, the first son. And in exchange for the first son of every family in Israel, He accepted the Levites as His set-apart people…I’m going off on a tangent now.

Where was I?

All of these firsts make a lot of sense to me. Because giving God the first means that you trust Him for the rest. If the first lamb that your sheep gives birth to is given to God, you are trusting that God will bless that sheep to have more lambs, which will provide for your needs in the future. If you give God the first fruits of the harvest — the first crops, for example — you are saying you trust God that you will be able to harvest the rest of those crops, and there will be plenty for you and your family.

He tells us to seek His kingdom first and then what? All these things will be added…

So I had a strong sense of conviction that we were putting our tradition in front of God’s command, which was very Pharisee of us. It seemed clear that we ought to immediately give that first ten percent, our tithe, and then we could calculate the other four at the end of the month, our offering.

But here’s where things got challenging. Since we’d been doing it our way for a while, we had our February amount to give on Sunday. And we get paid a significant part of our salary at the beginning of the month. So we were about to pay the February amount, and then go ahead and heap in the March amount, too. Which was like doubling things up at once. Yikes.

I just clearly sensed the whisper of the Lord about this — trust Me. Let go.

This post is getting kind of long, {Hello, word count tipping the scales at 1,184} so I’m going to pick up on this story again tomorrow. But to sweeten the cliffhanger, I want to say in one sweet section of the story to come, for perhaps the first time in as long as I can remember, the Hubs looked at me and said, “You were right.” It was a big deal.

Will we trust the Lord and give? Will the Hubs feel differently and veto my conviction?

And can I ask you: Are you being challenged to have faith right now? (If not, do you think there’s anything wrong with that?) If so, what’s keeping you holding on?


P.S. Do you have any clue what that title was trying to allude to? Am I a nerd? Or OLD?