After much prayer, and talking with other mature Christian leaders, we do not see that we are able to pursue going to Poland in January.
You have no idea how hard that is for me to write. In fact, it makes me very sad (understatement) to say that.
We always hear about people who "attempt great things for God" (William Carey) and how they overcome incredible odds to get to where they think they need to be (Gladys Aylward). We hear preachers talking about asking God for "something bigger than you can do on your own" so that you have no doubt that if it happens, you know that it came from God. And all of these things can be good and true. There is something to be said for seeing things through the eyes of faith.
But for every Gladys Aylward that made her way to China, there are thousands who wanted to, but did not. Were they wrong or out of God's Will? Were they walking by faith and not by sight? Did they not have the eyes of faith to get them there?
Seeing through the eyes of faith is important (Heb.11:1) However, that is not the only lens to use. We must also see things through the eyes of circumstance.
I have no problem asking God for big things. But how do I see it? What can I expect to happen? When will I receive my answer? Well, as best as I can determine, God is sovereign and in His providence He allows things to happen and can prevent things from happening. And the best and most sure way to know if something is in God's Will is to see if it's happening.
(Of course there are different ways we think of the will of God. Here, I am speaking of His decretive/sovereign will. This is a good link to read regarding the different wills of God: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/wills_sproul.html)
I can't know it's God's Will in this sense, until it happens because "the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever."
I can pray for a million bucks to fall on my head right now believing it with my eyes of faith. But when nothing falls down, I must interpret that as my answer. I must see the circumstances around me to see what God is actually doing. I cannot force my plans to happen for "His ways are higher than my ways". And He "knows the plans HE has for me" and He tells me to "lean NOT on my own understanding".
So if I ask Him for $15,000 to go and it's not there, then I don't go. What if that IS how He is answering me? Maybe it's a "no", maybe it's a "not yet". Either way, it clearly is not there. So do I lament my lack of faith? Or, do I see things through the eyes of circumstance? Do I look at what is actually happening and say, "if He wanted me to go, it would have happened". So the answer to me going right now is definitely a "no".
Now as sad as that makes me, my challenge is to move forward from here and see His "No" as good and right. I can trust God because He is the Alpha and the Omega. I can trust His vision for my life. I can rest in knowing that Jesus Christ loves me and will use me however He wishes. It might be painful, uncomfortable, confusing, or even contradictory to what I think I should be doing, but I know that it is right because "He is the light and in Him there is no darkness".
We can see both the unseen (faith) and the seen (circumstance) and know that God is sovereign over them both. He teaches us to trust and He teaches us to submit. So in pursuing Poland for January, I submit. I submit to a kind and benevolent God who seeks my good and His glory.
Again, the money simply isn't there. And that is not to guilt anyone. That is to praise God for making it clear.
Does this mean I will never ask for big things again. C'mon, you know me better than that! God is still able!
He is able to do His holy will. Nothing can stop Him! I am stoppable, He is unstoppable! And when He stops me from something it IS part of His unstoppable plan to bring glory to Himself.
I love Jesus! I will continue to pray for Poland. If you pledged anything and still want to use it for the furtherance of the Gospel in Poland, I urge you to let me know. There are many brothers and sisters I know who are there doing the work of sharing the Gospel and they would surely use these funds for the glory of God in reaching the Polish people.
As for me, I am here. Through the eyes of faith, I want to see the circumstances around me as opportunities to glorify Jesus in all that I do. And I will do what I know to do from God's preceptive will, because in His Will of Disposition, He desires that all men be saved. Even in Gallatin, TN.
I love you guys and thank you so much for your support and willingness to pray for me and my family. Praise God for the right answer!
(If my thinking on this is incorrect, I pray that it would not influence you in any way and that the Lord would give you sweet forgetfulness.)