Monday, March 26, 2018
A Growing Hope
April 23rd came and, as it was a Wednesday, there was a meeting of the church that night which I desired to attend. We had little gas in the car and no money to purchase more. My wife was invited to attend a ladies sewing meeting that morning with members of this same fellowship, but things were so tight that I knew if she went we might not have enough gas to go to the church meeting in the evening. After praying I felt confident to tell her to go, believing that if God wanted us to attend the meeting that night, He would provide the money needed for gas. My wife took both of our children with her, and this left me in the house alone, and I used the opportunity to pray.
During the preceding weeks the Father had been leading me into a place where I could know peace in the midst of trials. Often before, when the Spirit had led us through some test of faith and we had obeyed, we did so in fear and trembling. The Spirit began testifying to me that it was possible for us to go through these trials of faith and to know peace in the midst of the storm. I wrote an article at this time sharing those things the Spirit was speaking to me, and I titled it “Resting in the Confidence of His Love.”
In the week following God’s instructions for us to place both feet in the water, I found that I was able to walk in a place of peace I had not formerly known during such trials. I was greatly encouraged in meditating upon God’s faithfulness to us in the past, and also in reading the book on Rees Howells’ life. On top of this, the Spirit had spoken prophetically through my daughter about nine months previously during a moment of great testing. This prophecy was written down and I found constant encouragement in reading it. The prophecy read:
Word From Kristin - July 24th, 2002
I have great things in store for your family.
Marvelous things that only I can get the credit for.
My sheep will hear My voice and they will know
that it is I, the Lord thy God.
My provision is on its way. My timing is perfect.
You need not fear any trouble, instead, trust Me.
The time has not yet come to reveal all things,
but behold, it is drawing nigh.
You need have no less than great expectations, for
I, the Lord thy God, am in control.
Watch and wait.
You must put behind you all foolish thoughts of
doubt and disbelief, for great is My reward for
those who trust.
Forget not those things which I have done for
you, and expect greater things in the future.
I am a just God, those who put their life in
My hands need never fear.
Await with anticipation the things that are to
come. They are drawing near.
Those things which I have spoken to you will
be fulfilled, for I do not lie.
I have listened to your heart’s cry. I have
not turned a deaf ear.
I am a father who loves to give good gifts to
His children. Trust My timing.
You must learn to listen to My voice, and My
voice alone. Take the path which I have set for
you. Do not turn to the right or to the left.
On this day, April 23rd, as I was praying I was led to read the Psalm of the day, which is not something that I normally do. As I read the Psalm I felt the presence of the Spirit, and I received great comfort and peace. The opening words declare, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” The word ‘want’ is a synonym for ‘lack.’ This Scripture is testifying that we will not know lack, for our Shepherd will take care of all of our needs.
Just a few days earlier I had found in a trash can in the bathroom two Scriptures written on 3x5 cards that I had recorded about 20 years previously. My son had gotten the cards and used them for some purpose, cutting a hole in the center of each one, but I could still read the Scriptures. They said:
"Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Great peace was ministered to me as I meditated upon these Scriptures. As I considered that it is the Lord’s command that we are not to be anxious about anything, I felt a release from the clinging anxiety that I had known most of my life. I had formerly acted as if it was some Christian duty to be anxious about the cares of life. Somehow the thought had been ingrained into my psyche that a responsible Christian man must worry about providing the necessities of life for himself and his family. I had picked up the idea that it was okay to follow God in faith, but one should act like a responsible citizen by being constantly worried until the manifestation of God’s provision should come through.
I hated this anxiety. Anxiety is the child of fear, and it grows up quickly into a hideous monster. Now I was hearing the Spirit say that it was not God’s will for anxiety to be in my heart. All worry was to be put away. Peace and confidence were to be the habit and mindset of the believer. During the past two weeks since I had placed both feet in the water I was able to experience a peace and confidence that had previously eluded me. On this day in particular I experienced a boldness in knowing that God would certainly meet our needs.
About 2:30 in the afternoon the mail came and there was no money in it, only a bank statement telling me I was $1.22 in the hole. I was at peace even in seeing this. I came into my room and knelt by the bed and prayed, expressing my needs to God. I thanked God that I knew His eyes were on us, and I was trusting in Him. I ended by telling God that I was experiencing such peace that I believed I could sleep in the stern of the boat at this time while the storm raged around me.
When I got up I felt led to check my bank balance online, and when I did I found that a deposit had been made into our account for $500. This was unanticipated, and it came from a Christian brother halfway around the world. I cannot express how much joy flooded my soul. It was not just that we had some money, but it was a testimony of the fact that God is present and watching us every minute. He knows our needs so intimately and is able and willing to provide. I began singing the 23rd Psalm "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..."
For the next hour I went around the house singing to God and praising Him for His love and watchfulness over us. I looked forward to my wife and children coming home so that I could share this miracle of provision with them. When they arrived we all sat down and my wife asked if she could share first. She told me that a lady at the meeting, the wife of an elder at the church, came up to her and gave her forty dollars. She told Tony that they really wanted us to continue to come to church and they knew it was a long drive, so they wanted to give us gas money to get there.
What an answer this was to my prayer that morning. I had asked the Father that if it was His will for us to go to church that He would provide money for gas. Here was money given to us for the express purpose of being used to purchase gas to drive to church. The Father could not have answered my prayer more specifically. This woman did not just give us money for expenses. It was for gas. Neither was it for gas to drive anywhere, but to enable us to drive to church. What a confirmation this was to us that God wanted us to attend this fellowship of believers.
When I then shared my news with the family, they were awestruck. What incredible good it did me to see my children and wife exulting in the faithful provision of the Father. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack for any good thing. All of these things were conspiring together to raise the level of my hope and expectancy that God would at this time raise up the people of faith I had long prayed for. I felt a deep excitement about upcoming events.
This excerpt is from Evidence of Things Unseen:
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