God is taking all of your second-hand knowledge that you knew last year and He is putting it into first-hand revelation.Havilah Cunnington
I have never heard something make so much sense until I heard this quote during a sermon. In order for you to understand where I’m going, you’re going have to see where I’m coming from. So, here’s the context to this entire post… during the summer last year, James River Church did 21 days of prayer and fasting which I took part in. A couple of days before the 21 days began, I decided to focus on one of three areas each day during my time of prayer: finances, ministry, and relationships (specifically romantically). Every day I would get ready to pray expecting to gain some clarity in one of these areas, but instead I ended the time without clarity and only the idea of trust. Each day I would end my prayer time a little confused, dumbfounded even, because I thought I did trust God. I mean I was at a point in life that could only have been made possible by trusting God. I thought I knew what it meant to trust God. To make a long story short, by the end the 21 days I realized that I could trust God more than currently was, but I was still a little lost on the “how” because I thought there was no room for my trust to grow – I thought it was fully grown.
Through my doubt I began to think and work on growing my trust in God. For the rest of the summer, I began new habits that I felt like that I just needed to begin which I’m honestly glad that I started. But you see, forming new habits has always been easier said than done for me; however, these habits came and stayed without me even trying to keep them ( I attribute this to being only a God thing).
Fast forward to March 2020… I began to see my trust in God be tested at great lengths. Two life-changing things happen, one good and one bad. I’ll start with the good thing… one Tuesday night after a church event I finally asked the girl who I had been crushing on ever since we first met out for coffee. If I told you about everything leading up to me asking her out, you’d probably think it was either a coincidence or a God-thing. I won’t go into the details about everything that happened before I took the plunge and asked her, but I do want to take a minute and go back in time a little bit. So, we first met back in October when we were on worship team together for a Wednesday night youth service. I first laid eyes on this girl and my heart stopped for a moment. Before I got to know her a little bit, I denied my feelings because I she didn’t look like she was old enough for me (I thought she was still in high school). Well, that wasn’t the case, she was actually a freshman at James River College. I was now in the clear to have feelings and not feel like a pedophile (laugh out loud). By the time I left church that night, I decided that it was okay to deny my feelings for her even more because she didn’t have the “assets” that I typically look for in a girl (don’t get it twisted though, even though she doesn’t have the “assets” I typically look for, she is still the cutest girl on earth), so I went on to chase other girls. I’m going after other girls all the while thinking about how this one girl makes me feel just by being around her.
Which brings me back to this Tuesday night in March, by the time the pastor starts to preach, I had decided not ask her. The first thing the pastor said was, “God has you here for a purpose,” I was blown away! See, what you don’t know is that I had just found my seat in the auditorium seconds before service had started which at this point everyone was up front ready for worship, so I had no idea where anyone was sitting, but it just so happened that I ended up sitting two rows directly behind her. As I’m listening to the sermon, I decide that maybe I should ask her out, but again by the end of service, I decided not to ask her… I mean I had an event to get to back on campus anyway and was a little pressed for time. I was walking to the door to leave then I remembered that had to talk to someone about an internship at the church, and it just so happens that the only way to get to the person I needed to talk to was by going in the same direction she was. Hold on to your seats, it’s about to get a little more crazy! So, by the time I get to where she was standing there just so happen be a traffic jam – I have no where to go – so living in the moment and being spontaneous, I decide to go for it and ask her. I don’t know what God was trying to accomplish that night, but I kid you not that as soon as I started to talk to her, it was like the rapture had happened and the tons of people who seconds ago blocked my way were automatically gone. Crazy story, right? That’s only half of the story. If I told you the entire story, you’d probably think you’re reading some movie script. Anyway, skipping ahead a couple days that same week, something bad happened.
So, what’s the one bad thing that happened that same week? COVID-19 starts run rapid in the United States, forcing a lot of universities including mine to switch to online. It also caused me to go home to Tennessee – not exactly what I had planned for the summer. Not only that, but it also put our potential coffee date on hold (oh, she said, “yes” by the way).
Here I am losing my trust in God in the midst of all this, feeling somewhat depressed because I really wanted to be able to intern at the church during the summer plus I waited so long, through my own shortcomings, to ask this girl out and then it all went to shambles. However, one morning I was reading the book of Job and came across Job 2:10 which says,
I read this and was immediately reminded that faithfulness to God is tested when everything in life goes to shambles. In that moment, I knew that it even though I didn’t get to do the internship, I had to keep trusting God. I knew that even though I had no idea where my relationship with this girl was going, I had to keep on trusting God. So, I’m back on track trusting God but I’m still not quite sure what that means.
Fast forward a few weeks later. I received a COVID-19 relief check for $919 in the mail- I was not expecting this at all. Now we have to go back in time some more to when James River began our Welcome to the Future capital campaign. From the very first Sunday of this campaign, I felt God lay on my heart to pledge $1,000. I had no idea how I was going to make it happen. The only job I had was my work-study which was one-day a week and only minimum wage. I made about $200 a month, so I didn’t know how I was going to make a $1,000 pledge possible, so I kept putting off making the pledge. I just couldn’t shake the feeling though, so after a couple of weeks of putting it off I decided to trust God and pledge $1,000. When I got this check for $919 in the mail, I kind of forgot that I still had $910 left to give in my pledge. So initially, when I got this COVID-19 relief check, I began to think of everything I could do with it (my pledge never registering as a thought in my mind). I thought how I could use the check to pay of my credit card, put in a savings account for so I could buy a Jeep someday. Eureka! I’ll use it to buy a MacBook (something that I been trying to get ever since elementary school). I start doing the math to figure where to rest of the money would come from, so I could FINALLY buy a MacBook. But as I’m working out the math, I hear the Holy Spirit say, “Your pledge.” Of course, I said some smart, sarcastic things back, but I lost that match. So, I ended up using the check to fulfill my pledge. Here I am again, heartbroken because I was finally about to get something that I had wanted for so long, and the dream was crushed within seconds. Then I feel God say, “I know it hurts. I know you’ve been trying to get a MacBook for many years now, but you’ve got to trust Me.” Through my current pain, I say, “Alright, God. I trust you.”
Let me stop right there for a minute. I haven’t got that MacBook through some miraculous way yet. I haven’t received another check that was double the amount that I gave, but I’m trusting and believing that I will reap the reward of obeying and giving up a dream. I don’t know when I will reap what I sowed, but I know that waiting is sometimes a part of the trust process. You see, when you try to help someone through their pain, you just have sit (sometimes in awkward silence) and trust that they will see you as a friend and open to you and allow you to help them. But you got people like me, who see you as a friend, but still have a hard time opening up and letting you help them. They still try to fix it themselves even though they know they are hurting. But let me tell you something, waiting brings release. You see, I fully believe that the reason that I haven’t seen a replenishment of what a gave is because I’m still trying to make it happen myself. I’m trusting God will make it happen, but I’m saying, “Hey, God. I know you got me, but let me help ya out.” Sounds crazy, right? I don’t know you needed to hear this, but it’s for somebody! This paragraph came out no where, but I feel like God is using it to not only speak to me, but to somebody who is reading it right now. If you’re reading this and you feel the Spirit tugging on your heart, don’t be like me and try to help God, He doesn’t need your help. LET YOUR PROBLEMS GO AND TRUST THAT HE WILL WORK THEM OUT!
There’s so much more that I could tell you about, but this post is already longer than I intended it to be, so I gotta wrap it up. I say all this to come back to the quote at the very beginning of this post.
There I was in 2019 thinking I was at the ultimate level of trusting God, but deciding to see if maybe if I could go higher. Not knowing what this meant, I decided to trust God more than I was in certain areas of life. (I need gas but don’t enough money? I’ll trust God. I got to get from one event to another and be there on time? I’ll trust the God will get me there on time.) Then I come to March 2020 and I was on a mountaintop, and suddenly it all came crashing down and I kind of lost my trust in God. Coming to April I read Job 2:10 and decide to trust God again, and I start to see things to workout again. I’ll be honest I still don’t know how I’m going to get there, but I know I still have a long way to go until I reach the ultimate level of trusting God. But you see, this has never been more clearer to me than when Havilah said what she said. Because here’s the thing, in 2019 trusting God was my second-hand knowledge, but now in 2020 it has become my revelation and I’m seeing it in action each and every day.