Thursday, February 5, 2015

Is God at work?

It was a huge opportunity and I knew it.  So I planned ahead.  I prayed.  I worked hard.  I sought accountability.  I asked boldly.  I did everything I could!

But nothing came of it.  God didn't show up.

What's going on, God?  Why did you leave me hanging?  I'm supposed to be faithful - and I was - but You didn't fulfill your end of the deal!  Are you at work in my fundraising or not?

Have you ever wondered if God was really at work in your fundraising?  Yeah, you've seen Him at work before.  And you definitely see Him at work in the lives of others who are raising funds around you.  So why does it seem like He's ignoring you?  Is God at work?

Joseph might have wondered something similar.  God gave him dreams declaring that he would be great (Gen 37:5-10).  Yet instead he was betrayed by his closest kin and sold into slavery in a foreign land (Gen 37:23-24,28).  Even in this he tried to be faithful, yet his desire for purity left him in prison for two years (Gen 39).

Was God at work?

Let's find out.  After those two years in prison, Joseph is remembered, tested and greatly exalted (Genesis 41:40).  Eventually his brothers, who had been the initial source of his great suffering, came groveling before him.  In that moment, Joseph spoke these amazing words:
Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50:19-20, ESV, emphasis mine)
Wait, wait, wait!  God meant it for... good?  Did Joseph really mean to say that God was at work, doing good, throughout all those years of seeming neglect?  He sure did.  That's exactly what he meant.

So what does this mean for you and I when we work hard in fundraising and yet it appears that God is not at work?  Perhaps you finally have the courage to ask for a big gift and they say no.  Or the speaking engagement you've been planning for weeks falls through at the last minute.  Or you get a new $100/mo donor after a dry spell only to lose a $200/mo donor.  What does it mean when God's not at work?

It means we're asking the wrong question!  Rather than asking, "Is God at work?", we ought to instead ask, "How is God at work?"  We may not learn the answer to that for months or years later.  But we can have certainty that God is at work for good.

He's never done it any other way.