This is part 2 of Risk and Reward. It’s learning to let go of everything that has been your safety net before, throw caution to the winds and trust God completely for your provisions. And I mean completely. Part of living a risky life is that it gets your adrenaline flowing, that’s for sure. There certainly is no getting comfortable here! It’s a faith-test at every turn. What I’ve learned is that it’s an exhilarating way to live. Exhilarating fear. Faith applied. Fear conquered. Repeat. But it’s not just exhilarating fear. It’s exhilarating living. By this I mean, you just never know how your provisions are going to show up. You just have faith and belief that somehow, someway God is going to make something happen that is going to blow your socks off. That’s an exhilarating way to live, if you ask me. And I’m all in for that kind of life. No more safe, boring life! Nope!
So, I want to share with you some crazy things that God has done to show up for my provisions. It’s crazy!
But first I want to ask you, friend, do you believe what God says? Do you hear God calling you to pull away the safety net and trust Him alone for your provisions for your life…for all of your life? Do you believe He’ll take care of you in the financial deficient, if that’s what it is? Or to make other provisions for what He’s calling you to? Maybe you’re looking at God side eyed like I did and are wondering if He’s really going to show up for you. Maybe the risk, whatever that might be, is high…really high…and you’re just not sure if you’re able to take that step of faith. I hear ya!
I want to remind you of a story in the bible when there were people who were asked to step out in faith in a very real place of high risk. Their very lives and hope for the future relied on it. In Joshua 3 we read an account of when the Lord led the people of Israel into their Promised Land. But they had to cross the Jordan River to get there…during flood season, no doubt! The banks were already flooded over when the river was normally 3 to 10 feet deep. The priests were told step into the flooded river and then the waters would stop flowing where they were and would stand up in a heap. And then all of the people of Israel would cross the Jordan River on dry ground. I want you to just think about that a minute. Here’s a river that, on a normal day, is anywhere from 3 to 10 feet deep. And now the river is out of its banks. The priests are in front of all of the Israelites leading the way. And they are told that the only way they’re getting across that river is if the priests, by faith, take the step into the overflowing Jordan River - a step where they actually get their feet wet, feel the cold of the water, experience the rush of the very tide that could take them under. And then, just like that, the ground they are now standing on is dry, solid, a firm foundation. Faith and trust were their catalysts. If they didn’t believe God’s word and His character, then they wouldn’t have stepped out into seemingly deadly circumstances. If they didn’t cross the Jordan, they, and all of the Israelites, wouldn’t have made it to their Promised Land. They would’ve stopped short of God’s very best for them because they refused to take a risk in faith.
It's not lost on me that all of the men, women, and children of Israel were totally dependent on whether or not the priests had faith enough to step into the flowing river, to do it exactly as God had instructed. I wonder, perhaps, if there are others depending on me to walk in faith so that they get to the promised land, too. It’s also not lost on me that God asked them to take that step of faith before He walled up the water and dried up the ground so they could cross. Don’t you know, God certainly could’ve parted that water well before the priests ever got close to the water’s edge. Why do you think He didn’t? What reward do you think the priests got from taking that step? I imagine when the waters parted their hearts soared with love and gratitude for their God - an opportunity to show their faith as an act of worship. And then, a sense of complete oneness with the Powerful One who can wall up a flowing river with but a thought. Talk about feeling loved and cared for, seen and known. Wow.
That’s what our loving Father does. He cares for His children. And He’s very good at what He does. So, in the last episode - Risk and Reward: Part 1 - I told you that I linked arms with risk, stepped into my Jordan River, and accepted the non-profit job. And the first thing I did was remind the Lord, again, that He said He’d take care of me if I did. Now, I couldn’t see any way in the natural how God was going to accomplish this. When I was ten years old, my dad told me money doesn’t grow on trees, and honestly, I haven’t ever seen a money tree since. So how was God going to get money to me? I had no idea. But just days after saying “Yes” to this risk, I got a phone call from the IRS. Now listen, if you ever get a phone call from the IRS you know it’s not good news. OR it’s a criminal trying to get your personal information. So, when the woman on the other end of the phone identified herself and said she needed me to verify my information I kind of laughed out loud. She asked me what my address was. So, I asked her to tell me what my address was. We went around and around for a few minutes before she realized she was going to have to come up with some plausible information to convince me she was really with the IRS. And she did. She told me several things that only the IRS and my CPA would know. Then after I verified some other information, she told me there was a credit in our account and asked if I’d like to receive a refund check from our significant overpayment. Wait, what? The IRS is calling me to ask if I wanted a refund check cut and sent? I could hardly believe it. In fact, it was so hard to believe I asked for her employee i.d. number. She also gave me her direct line phone number in case I had any questions after we hung up. I immediately called our CPA who was totally incredulous about the whole thing. He said, “The IRS never calls people to give them a refund check. They only call to collect money.” Well, the woman said the check would get to me in about 10 days, and it sure did, and I took that check straight to the bank. It was as if someone just went out there and picked money of that money tree. A couple of months later, my CPA filed my taxes for the year and called to say I should receive a refund, and get this, for twice the amount of the IRS check that was sent after that phone call. Wait a minute. What? Another refund check? And this time for twice the amount? Like, that money tree had been seriously fertilized by “someone”.
One day, someone dropped a shoe box on my front porch full of $100 bills. Seriously. I’m not making this stuff up!
Ok, one more story: If you’ve listened to episode #10 Love Smothers Fear, you heard a story about when I sold Brian’s Suburban. There was an issue because since the title was in his name only, they would have to print the check in the name of his estate - which we had not set up. I was told the transaction was government regulated and audited, so printing the check in my name was not possible. After my meltdown at the dealership and I got home and cleared my head, I called my contact at our bank to ask how quickly we could set up an account in the name of his estate. I was told by one of the clerks that my contact had just been promoted to Vice President of the region of banks, so she wasn’t there but could ask her to call me. She did and offered to write a letter to the dealership vouching for the cancelling of the check. The dealership accepted the letter and printed the check in my name. What? That was a miracle. Now here’s something crazy, too. That morning, I received a devotional on my email from Boyd Bailey’s Wisdom Hunters. It said: “Wisdom is the Lord’s way of preparing plenty of resources and relationships for you to further His will. He is not stingy in sending forth His Holy Spirit for discernment and insight into people and situations…so be patient, do the next wise thing, and watch God work in ways you never imaged. Wisdom is at work on behalf of your works.”
Isaiah 64:4 says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard a God like You who works and shows Himself active for those who wait for Him.”
Listen, there could be nothing truer than this!
Now, you might assume that the reward for the risk I chose to take was purely monetary. And while seeing God make good on the promise that if I took the non-profit job He would take care of me financially was exciting, nothing was more rewarding than to know that God, the One who created all things, who set the sun for light by day, and the fixed order of the moon and stars for light by night; the One who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar - says Jeremiah 31:35 - this One knows me, knows my heart, knows my needs, and is active in my life. To know that this Great God cares enough about me to orchestrate things and to move people for my good - to wall up the flood waters, so to speak - makes my heart soar. The reward of experiencing so intimately a relationship with the Father is greater than anything material I could ever receive. Now, this is the exhilarating life I signed up for. To have a very real, very personal encounter with the God of the universe, this reward is worth every bit of the risk.
I have so many other stories that I’ll keep sharing along the way about other crazy things God has done, things that could only happen because there is a God who is working and showing Himself active. Oh man, what a privilege to be His child! I want to ask you, friend, do you believe what God says? Do you believe He’ll take care of you too? That He’ll make provisions for what He’s calling you to? Your “Jordan River” is not going to part until you embrace the risk and, in faith, take a step into the deep, rushing waters. There is great reward there, my friend. I promise it. And so does your Heavenly Father - the One who sees you and loves you so deeply.