ISI Banquet: Fears vs Faith
The word "faith" in the Bible has always kind of bothered me. I don't like that it seems to be saying that if we have a mystical clear vision of the success of some goal in your life, that God rewards you.
No. Life does't work that way. We usually do NOT get a mystical vision of exactly what successful think will happen. More often we stumble through things, not sure where we are going, but trying out things and see if they work. And God makes some of them work as He sees fit. And what works, we keep doing. but that is not faith, that is normal response to what we can see already.
But as I read Bible stories and replace the word "faith" with "connection with God" the stories make more sense to me. As in "your connection with God has made you well," "because of your great connection with God" he answers your prayers.
So what helps the MOST is to realize God is with ME personally. He loves me! so even if I do bomb-- publicly-- God's love in my life is stronger than any failure, real or imaginary, that I might go through. That is my confidence. Not confidence in whatever the results will be. Confidence in God's LOVE with me now.
There are many factors needed to put on a successful banquet. These days people have very high expectations of how a successful event should go. And I have low expertise in organizing such big events... but increasing with my attempts. I'm trying to learn as fast as I can, especially from our past mistakes in our first two big ISI Santa Cruz fundraisers.
But before I really knew how successfully all of the factors would work together. I had to confirm the event, put a deposit and send out lots of publicity (did I mention "public humiliation?")
So my "faith" had to include trusting God enough to be willing to fail. Trusting that God is giving me enough guidance to make the choice even if results are what I consider a failure, and trusting that God is in that too, that it would be OK to fail. Better to attempt following God and fail than not to try. That my success is whether or not I am listening and obeying God and leaving results up to Him. Right?
Banquets take teamwork, and I had to commit to doing the event BEFORE I had a team together. trusting that God would bring me the team. The needs are still swirling about me, but many parts are already falling into place, thanks to GOD.
But after much PRAYER and listening to God, all signs were Green for Go!
So I sent the deposit check and started sending emails and making phone calls.
Lots of phone calls.
Emotionally exhausting phone calls!
Even that one who yelled at me for phoning her after 9 p.m. at night, oops! And the student I woke up at 9 p.m. And of course many (mostly) "no" answers, for very valid, (and some not so valid) reasons. But I had to do those failure phone calls in order to find the silver YES answers, and some golden "yes" answers that are leading to other "yes" answers. We don't find God's miracles unless we slog through the difficulties, right? Faith is not namby-pamby passively lollygagging about whilst God does ALL the work. We do our small fraction of it too. The answered prayer starts with ME, doing my part to catalyse the experiment.
And now I'm seeing God filling in MANY of the blanks with the HELP FROM UNEXPECTED SOURCES that I mentioned last newsletter. Two great speakers, a great MC (Ron Hart) , 3 musicians, 15 international students,
We have about 100 seats sponsored so far, thanks to about 14 generous donors. I've given deadline of today for reserving seats, but I will finalize # of seats over the weekend and confirm with Mt. Hermon on Monday. Yes, faith includes doing my BEST to work hard and take care of everything.
Most of them are inviting guests, but some table sponsors are leaving the invitations up to me. So we have sponsored seats that need to be filled with guests! I don't know who all the guests are yet!
Now as I'm planning this event, walking forward with confidence that God wants this event to happen, it is not my prophetic clarity that I can see clearly into the future what the good results will be. Nope, I'm really not sure how it will turn out (down, down you fear that starts to awaken even as I say that!) but it is my connection with God's presence right NOW that gives me confidence to act confidently before I know whether it will succeed or fail.
So dear Prayer Team member, thank you for your prayers that invigorates my experience of in our Connection With God so we can proceed with confidence.
Last night, one of those prayers happened with Dorothy on the phone who prayed for me to feel God's peace and not feel hectic but feel that I have enough time for everything!
Thank you Dorothy! I feel the answer to that prayer already.