February 7, 2021

Oh October. You were a good one.


September, as I mentioned in my previous post, was different. Different than the start of last year, different than the end of last year.


And while many differences continued into October, there was also an air of recognition in the month. Perhaps it’s just the in way God tends to speak to me.

Last year, I found myself consistently astonished and surprised at the way God would grow a specific theme over a few days or a week. I would read a random verse one day, have a conversation with a friend a couple days later, and find myself writing down a quote from a message a few days after that, all somehow honing in on one specific point or theme, and all of it confirming, to me, that God was on it. It wasn’t just one source; He would come at it from all sides.


And I think it’s that mechanism that God seems to enjoy leading me with that led to a sense of familiarity with October.


But, let’s be clear: none of the lessons are the same as last year. While everything builds on last year’s foundation, God is leading me into brand new and brave new concepts and territories.




Recognizing and responding to opposition.




And lack.


Or, more specifically, the lack of lack.


I think most of us have areas of our life where we worry about lack on some level. Perhaps the most obvious is in the realm of finances, but I think relationships, opportunities, and belief can all be spheres where we carry an underlying sense of uneasiness, either feeling like we’re missing out on something or are about to hit the harsh reality at the bottom of the barrel. October found me fighting with this in a whole new way.


It probably doesn’t surprise you that school wasn’t what I expected. It still isn’t. It isn’t really what anyone expected. We’ve been in person, online, in person, online again and, more recently, outdoors. I missed auditioning for drums and the usual start-of-semester retreat, which was massive for me last year. Missions and ministry trips certainly won’t be anything close to normal, and the normal hang outs with friends are more difficult and complicated to navigate, as we grapple with state restrictions and school guidelines.


All that to say, I found myself battling against discouragement and frustration on a regular basis. Like many people in this era of COVID, I felt like I was being cheated by this virus and was powerless to change it.


More than that, I felt myself getting frantic as I worried that I, as a Jesus follower, would be in lack. That I would have a lack of growth, lack of experience, lack of hands-on ministry training. I came to BSSM to get instructed in how to build the Kingdom for the rest of my life, but now I worried I would be ill-equipped to handle the situations of the future with this less-than-normal year of ministry school.


All of this brought me to a morning where I sat down with a notebook, a Bible, and my swirl of emotions ranging from fading hope to discouragement to anger.


And, as He does, He met me.


In the midst of my doubt and frustration with school and the state of the world at large, I found myself flipping back and forth between a couple of specific verses:


“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”


- Philippians 4:19


“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”


- Matthew 6:33


I had read these verses before. Studied them. Marinated in them.


But I had always read them as a promise exclusively for my finances, and, while I’m not perfect, I can say with confidence that I have watched God come through in my finances enough times to recognize I have no reasonable excuse for doubting that He will keep on coming through. I may still slip into doubt occasionally, but I have only to remind myself of what He’s done for me in the past and the promises He’s made to me, both personally and through Scripture, to align myself back to the truth that He will never let my finances fail.


But when it came to experiences, or training, or even friends and connections, I was met with the harsh reality that I didn’t trust God nearly as much as I thought I did. It seemed something inside of me felt a need to force relationships or come up with opportunities for growth if either were going to happen.


Now, to be clear, I firmly believe there’s a measure of responsibility in all of this, and the verses have context that shouldn’t be discarded. But as I read the verses over and over again, I became convinced the promise applied to me.


“Every need.”


So yes, finances. But also growth. Training. Internal structures. Relationships. Discipline. Love. Connections. Opportunities. Experiences. If I have need of it, my God, my Daddy, who gives good gifts, will supply it.


End of story.


And when it comes to school specifically, it turns out that God is the best Teacher anyways.


Worship may be in my living room in front of a TV screen with my one roommate rather than in a crowded auditorium with a near perfect audio mix packed out with thousands of people. Classes may look like zoom calls rather than face to face interactions with teachers who rapidly become personal heroes. Church may look like inviting a few people over to my house to watch the live stream instead of driving up the College View hill, past the prayer house, and up to that picturesque Bethel church building. Retreat may be replaced by more time home in a quiet room alone with God, and missions trips may look like being intentional about visits to the grocery store or hosting international zoom calls.


But as long as Jesus is in charge of the curriculum, I am going to get every single thing I need for my future. Whatever I feel I may have missed out on or am lacking in due to the restrictions of COVID and the impacts on school, God will supply at the right time, be it during my time in Redding or not.


I have God. Thus, I have no lack.


Indeed, I have only a lack of lack.