As I talk to people about attending the school it seems like the financial cost is the biggest barrier for people. We made it as affordable as we could given what is covered by tuition, but I know it’s not cheap, and it is a sizeable investment. I get that, but I want to talk a little about that concept. I’ve been on a journey when it comes to finances and lack, and I wanted to share a bit of that journey and hopefully some keys that I’ve learnt from my journey.
It would have been about 5 years ago now that I felt like God wanted me to go to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding California. At the time I was running a youth ministry as an unpaid volunteer, suffice to say I was not flush with cash. I had this burning feeling in my heart, this pull, like I was meant to go. I read more about the school, I heard more about it, and the more I heard the stronger that pull became. I counted the cost, then looked at my bank account and realised the math did not quite work out. It was not going to work. Not only was it about $5000USD just for the tuition I’d have to fly there, live there, and hopefully eat food there. Circumstances were against me, and I decided to not even try and go. Yet the pull continued, and soon others told me that they thought I should go. I applied not sure what would happen, and soon found myself accepted to attend.
When God is inviting you to do something an important question is what is my part of this, and what is your part God? I asked that question, and the answer was I was meant to do all that I could to go. I didn’t have a job, and we were meant to have $10,000 in our bank accounts just to get our visa approved by the US consulate. I was lucky if I had $10 in my account when I started this journey. I knew I was meant to go though, so I did my part. I did everything I could. I did yard work, I worked as a janitor, I ran fundraisers, I met with countless people and asked them to support me. It somehow ended up happening. I still did not have near 10,000 in my account for the appointment, but with the 3,000 that I had at the time they waved me through. People were incredibly generous, and soon I had housing sorted for the year, my tuition paid, and my flights booked.
”When God is inviting you to do something an important question is what is my part of this, and what is your part God?
The cost was costly and hard. People were exceptionally generous, but letting people bless me in that way was a journey in of itself. I used to like to think of myself as somewhat independent, and here I was completely dependent. I worked as hard as I could, but knew that without people’s support I was not going to come close to what I needed. There was a cost of humbling myself to accept the blessing. There was a cost in terms of working hard in ways that I’m not at all gifted in, like digging holes. The relational cost was also sizeable. I had to leave my community behind for a year (which became 3 years). This meant I had to reforge all my relationships when I returned. There were numerous other ways that we had to pay a cost beyond the financial in order to do the journey. It was all an investment though and it was so worthwhile. It was all a sacrifice, and God’s fire always falls on sacrifice. When we pay the cost He meets us in it. He does not waste our investment. The story of the servants and the minas in Luke 19 comes to mind. The servants who invested the minas and made money suddenly found themselves in charge of cities. God’s interest rate is out of this world. When we pay a cost to invest in our relationship with Him the return is beyond what we can hope or imagine.
God is always the provider.
God’s will, God’s bill is true, but also if we don’t ask the question of what is our part, we might be sitting waiting for the provision, when He is providing an avenue for provision, and we are looking for it to manifest in our wallets. God always provides, but provision looks different in different seasons. He is always our provider, and if we start to view our job, or ourselves as our provider, then things get unhealthy. That is when decisions become fear and lack based. The thing is sometimes that heavenly provision is simply miraculous, and sometimes its through Him providing work, or some other avenue for finances which is no less divinely provided.
In our current season Katherine and I have together applied for in excess of 600 jobs. We have not gotten any of them. Around the 200 mark we realised that something was up here. We realised it was almost miraculous that we had not gotten even the jobs we were vastly overqualified for let alone any of the others. We realised that simply was not how God was providing for us in this season. It’s been hard! Money has been tighter than almost any other season, but we are okay, and because we know that He is our provider, not us, we know that all we can do is our part, and the rest is His responsibility. If we are doing what He is telling us, then that is all we can do. (Katherine just got a job while I was in the midst of writing this blog post, and we are so thankful for God’s provision in this.)
Sometimes what God is telling us to do does not seem logical, or sensible. Sometimes obedience and other people’s concept of “being responsible” do not look the same. God’s ways are not our ways, and the way the Kingdom works is so often upside down. If we are obedient though, we can trust that He is good and will meet us in that obedience. It’s often in those moments where “responsibility” and obedience seem different that we see where our security is. I’m of course not endorsing not paying our bills or anything silly like that, but what I am saying is that I want to follow His voice first and foremost. There have been times I’ve put my last $5 in an offering bag because He told me to, and because I know that He is good, and won’t abandon me. Every time provision has come.
Because His priorities are not ours the things that He provides for can sometimes feel backwards as well. In our last year we have been unable to pay for many things we felt like we needed like clothes, and curtains. Somehow though we ended up back in Redding in February for two weeks, and went to DisneyLand and Universal Studios. Visiting Universal Studios has been on my dream list for about 6 years, and in this season where money has felt tight, I did not expect to end up there. Yet God provided for it, because He decided it was time, and He cares about my dreams. This seems so backwards! So irresponsible! So frivolous! But He is a good Father who cares about the things on the hearts of His children.
What motivates you?
God is my source of security, not money. If I find myself thinking I’ll be okay if we just make it to payday, then money is my security. If I’m only okay if I have a certain amount of money in my bank account, that’s not faith in God, that’s faith in money. Living by faith is not living without money, it’s living with a different priority list, where at the top of the priority list is following God’s voice.
If you feel like He is putting attending the school on your heart and finances feel like a hurdle I’d urge you to do three things.
- Get your community praying. Prayer changes everything. Circumstances have to bow to Jesus, that’s just how it works.
- Ask God what your part in attending the school is. Don’t assume it’s impossible, nothing is impossible for Him. Ask what is your part, and what is His.
- Talk to us. We would love to be praying with you, and we can explore what options may be available.