This past weekend was one where God showed up big time. He did things that blew my mind in an arena that I tend to forget that He even cares about. And turns out I needed it because today a hurricane hit with force that is doing its best to knock us over.
Besides my jobs as wife, mom, teacher, housekeeper, financial manager, scheduling assistant, chauffeur, etc… I am an admin assistant for a non-profit group of small business owners called NextGen Technology Group. These technology/telecommunications business owners are from different parts of the country, but they meet twice a year for two days of mindsharing sessions. I am in charge of planning these events from choosing the hotel to booking the meals to producing the agenda. I have been doing this for about 4 years now, so I am not exactly a novice, but sometimes I am faced with very challenging circumstances for planning. The event that we just finished was no cake walk. The location the group had chosen was Tampa, Florida…the dates needed to be in late March or early April. Nothing like planning a meeting in a warm location during Spring Break season.
I spent literally 2 months trying to come up with something that would somewhat fit our meeting budget. I hit a brick wall at every turn. Nothing! At least nothing that wouldn’t cost our members around $300 a night. I was just about to give up and accept the wrath that would follow when I decided to add this problem to my prayer list. Why did I make prayer my last resort?? I keep asking myself the same question. When will I learn? I know that God cares about EVERY. THING. that affects me, but can I just be honest and say that as I wrote out the words to ask for a meeting location, I had nothing but doubt in my heart. Me… Anxiety/Panic girl who went to China for two weeks…who is daily upheld by the Holy Spirit in teaching my children…who now lives in Albany, GA for no other reason but God sent us here… Why do I continue to let doubt in?
You can probably guess what happened next… God was faithful. Shocker!!!! The next week I ran across a resort in Tampa that is actually just getting started in corporate events. The contact there gave me a $99 per night rate for 1 bedroom suites (more like a condo) all with completely gorgeous views of the bay… I cannot even tell you the last time that we have had that kind of rate. I was actually a little afraid that, despite the pictures, I might be sending my people to a dump. More doubt. My contact sent me the food menus to choose my meals…everything was under $10 a person. To give you perspective, we often pay $20-25 per person for breakfast and $30-50 per person for lunch. This is just pretty much the norm at a 3 to 4 star hotel these days for catering. Again, I cringed as I thought about the tongue lashing I might receive when our guest were eating ziti that tasted like cardboard. Doubt, doubt, doubt.
I am really embarrassed to admit that as we drove down to Tampa, I prayed hard that we were not going to pull into a converted Motel 8. As David contacted one of our partners who had arrived on site, I held my breath as I tried to read the conversation from David’s side. When he got off the phone, he turned and looked at me and said, “Joe says the place is amazing.” Can you just hear the breath that whooshed out of my chest? And Joe was right. We stayed right on the bay. Our meals were served on the pool deck. The rooms had magnificent views and were spacious enough for the 5 of us to spread out. We were given star treatment and I had not one complaint from anyone in our group while we were there. The food was catered in by an outside service and not only was it absolutely delicious, but my contact just passed the bill onto me without an upcharge or anything (I advised him that he needed to upcharge in the future…that man worked hard for us the entire event). Many of you probably already read my status about how we had ridiculous amounts of leftovers that ended up feeding some of the Hispanic staff on site. Jesus is SOOOO good at planning a party!!! We had dinner at a restaurant next to the resort that actually sat ON the water. In the middle of dinner, we all watched at a wall of glass as two dolphins swam by in the sunset. It was absolutely magnificent.
As we drove home I was completely overwhelmed with thankfulness that even when we are not so full of faith, He is faithful. I came home on Cloud 9 at what God had done throughout the event. We had a fabulous Sunday with some really great new friends and more proof of God’s faithfulness. As the choir lifted us to the heavens in worship, I closed my eyes for a second and really thought I might be in heaven. If you have never heard the Sherwood Choir, you just have never heard glory on earth ;). It is amazing…(and yes, this is a shameless plug for the impending release of “Jesus, Hope of the World” You have to get it) Definitely a mountaintop weekend…
So I should have expected the attack…been prepared for it even…but it came with a vengeance this morning. The enemy is raging…RAGING. And we are being tested…David and I and this family that we are building. We are being told to stand and to wait and to believe when nothing we see with our eyes gives us any reason to obey those commands. We are being pushed to the brink of disaster…and I truly believe that it is to reveal and refine and set us free from the doubt that still hides in our heart. In the midst of all of this, our Bible Study lesson this week was “How to Replace Doubt…” Next week’s lesson is “With Faith” Appropriate. Divinely Timed. Ordained from the Foundation of the World. I have spent the day refusing to believe anything less about God than what He has promised. The fight against doubt is painful and exhausting, but He renews our strength through prayer, through worship, and through His Word. We are helpless against doubt without His help…and make no mistake, it comes to rule us. To rule our actions and our decisions and our emotions.
I am determined to stop insulting God by doubting his faithful provision, aren’t you? As the three Hebrews in the furnace once said “Our God will deliver us, but even if He doesn’t, we still aren’t caving!”
Thanks be to our God who is never caught off guard by circumstances. We are in absolutely no danger because God has ALWAYS been faithful. YES. Be encouraged! He will do it again. And when He does, I will come tell you about it.
For Your Glory and Your Renown.