Missions, Faith, and Vans

It’s been about 60 hours since we returned from Ministry Headquarters’ first official missions trip! We haven’t missed a beat since, with three students being baptized yesterday afternoon, and a full day in the heat scrubbing cots for Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need today. With Ministry Headquarters (HQ) being so active lately, it feels like the right time to write the HQ blog’s first official blog post (yay!). Sometimes we will discuss our work in the mission battlefield, sometimes we will discuss in detail our HQ success stories, and still other times we will discuss the topics we are covering at our weekly meetings from different perspectives. For our first post, let’s talk about faith!

Washing cots with Advocates for Homeless and Those in Need

Last week, Ministry Headquarters (HQ) took a team of eight teens and three leaders up to Rochester, NY for a phenomenal week of service. We ran two Vacation Bible School programs, hit the streets with prayer, and ministered to one another in fellowship in the face of a multitude of obstacles.

Prayer Station in Rochester, NY

Throughout the week, our group had nightly devotionals centered on faith. We talked about four times in the book of Matthew where Jesus rebukes one or more of His disciples saying, “You of little faith!” There is a lot to be said about why Jesus repeats this phrase in various situations, but the key components we will look at now is this: As Christians, when we do not have faith in His provision for us, or in our own potential, then we equally have no faith in Jesus Himself.

Last Wednesday afternoon, our group in Rochester had its faith tested when our van broke down. There we were, about 350 miles away from home, only halfway through our trip, and our transportation was gone. We took it in stride at first, but the doubt started to settle in after the first couple of hours of uncertainty while the van sat at the mechanic. We prayed for the van to be fixed, we prayed that God would provide different transportation if it wasn’t fixed, and we prayed that no matter what our group could maintain a positive attitude for the remainder of the trip. Then it was the next day, and still no van. Then two more hours had passed, then three more, and another ten. In this situation, it would have been very easy to doubt that God would provide. After all, we don’t worship a genie in a lamp who answers our every wish. Since that is the case, how can we have faith that God will provide, as He promises, if it so often seems like He doesn’t?

The answer is in Matthew 14:29-30, when Peter walks on water and subsequently loses faith and falls through the surface. The smallest amount of faith gave Peter the confidence to step out of his fishing boat during a storm, but only for the briefest moment. Humans have very little faith, and what little faith we do have often comes about in short bursts. This is because we lack faith in ourselves, despite the fact that Jesus tells us we have God’s power within us.

Spoiler Alert: God provided.

I wholeheartedly believe in God’s promise to provide. God must provide, because He cannot break promises, but the reality is that God won’t provide if we don’t trust in Him. In the case of our van, some of us surely feared that we somehow wouldn’t make it home. Maybe some of the leaders felt somehow to blame, and laid the burden of provision on themselves. The specifics don’t matter. What matters is that our team was forced to struggle with our lack of faith, and for three days we did, and in the end God provided.

You see, I don’t think that today’s Christian struggles half as much with believing in Christ as he or she does with believing that the Spirit dwells within. You can see it in everyday aspects of life. We doubt our ability to provide for our families, and we doubt our ability to be successful in school, and we doubt our ability to abandon our addictions, and the whole time we fail to acknowledge that we are attempting to rely on our own understandings, rather than God’s. If you don’t commit and have faith, then God doesn’t “fix the van”, and you get stuck.

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