Why is support-raising so hard? Didn’t the Apostle Paul say, “All things work for good…”?
This week has been difficult for a couple of new missionary families seeking to discover their financial support. Both couples have been challenged to evaluate their motives by family members who do not trust their reasons for leaving the U.S. Others are struggling with the slowness of the process and the challenge to maintain the pace of phone calls and appointments in the face of rejection. They are tempted to throw in the towel.
I am convinced that support raising is an important character-forming tool in the missionary process. The combination of hard work, uncertainty, success and rejection is more than faith stretching. It is an important tool for maturity and growth. After experiencing the reality of long-term missionary life, I can confess that our characters needed a lot of molding (and still do).
Although I did not live my childhood as a missionary, I witnessed this character-shaping process through my family story. I believe that this earlier blog post is still amazingly applicable....and certainly what I need to hear today...
When my older brother, Danny, was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, I was just an infant. Mom and Dad must have been crushed. Mom tells me that every few years they would have an appointment at the Duke University Hospital where the finest doctors would inform them of the harsh reality of this cruel disease and lower their expectations. They never imagined that Danny would live past the early teenage years, much less, learn to drive and graduate high school, even study broadcasting. Danny was twenty-six when he died and he left a tremendous legacy of hope, perseverance and survival. He also suffered in silence and persevered.
So, how do “all things work for good”? Certainly, we cannot be talking about new cars or careers. God is not writing us a blank check for anything that we desire. He is making a much larger and important promise. God is committed to conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ. Simply put, He is determined to making us better people.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:28, 29a)
So, why is God allowing the support-raising process (or any other difficulty for that matter) to be long, slow, difficult and frustrating? Simply put, He is conforming you to the image of His Son. He is fulfilling His commitment to take away all that does not reflect Christ and is building up those character attributes that bring Him glory! He is preparing you for a lifetime of incarnational ministry, being like Christ wherever He leads.