Hind-sight is best when life is beautiful
June Update Letter Part 1 of 4
Hind-sight is best when life is beautiful
I’m convinced that sometimes the best way to have faith is to do nothing… not on your own behalf anyway. Trusting God can be nearly impossible when you are trusting in everything else. Your income, your insurance, your talents, your connections, your work ethic, your savings, your intellect; all these things share one thing in common: you.
Six months ago I returned from my deployment to the Middle East. I came back refreshed, fired up, and ready for a brand new life. I had resigned from my job and was ready to do ministry vocationally. As far as I could see, God had called me to use our savings to fix up our house to be used as a place of ministry. Soon we were tearing into our walls and ceilings, gutting out rooms, re-insulating, and running new wiring everywhere. Things seemed to slow down pretty quickly after our first burst of energy. The biggest “hindrance” was that I felt like I was not supposed to go out searching for a plumber to fix the mess-of-a-plumbing-job that hung above our living room, occasionally leaking down on our mantel or carpet. Being that we are new to this life of faith, we needed to know that God himself could answer our prayers on his own. I needed to know that I could go to God my Father with my needs and that he was powerful to answer on my behalf. And so… I waited and prayed. That was six months ago. I didn’t do this alone, I found people who would pray with me, whom I could trust to not go searching for answers on their own, but would stand with me as we sought out our heavenly Father, the source of all answers.
Waiting is horrific. It is difficult and leaves you in a place of helplessness and an itch to DO SOMETHING! Anything! I kept myself busy doing other work on the house. We converted the no-season porch into a mudroom, insulating it and installing new windows and a new front door. I also got to try my hand at doing stucco for the first time! Meanwhile our living room sat in shambles. We did our best to make it livable. We brought all the furniture back in, put the pictures up on the mantel again, and became content with living in a room that had open framing, exposed plumbing and almost no sound barrier between the living room and master bedroom above it.
Months went by and still we prayed and waited, begging God to send us a plumber. We didn’t really know what that would look like. Would a plumber just show up at our door saying he had received a vision from God with our names and address? God knows I was hoping for that! Or would I randomly meet a plumber who was looking for work? I just didn’t know. The point was that I was not going to go hunt down a plumber on my own, but wait for God’s timing and provision.
In April I started a fast, drinking liquids only, no solid foods. I was dedicated to searching out God’s will for this plumber thing and was willing to use the gift of fasting to build my faith and clear my perspective. When I started the fast I was thinking it would last for about a week. Shortly after getting into it, though, I realized that this fast was to be for longer and it was for much bigger reasons than finding a plumber. He wanted me to rest in Him.
I broke my fast as I started a three-day spiritual retreat at Pacem In Terris, a silent retreat center. I spent three days and nights in a cabin in the woods in very simplistic accommodations and spent time thinking about nothing. I was quite insecure at first, asking myself questions like, “Will God show up here and make good use of this time (and money) if I sit here and simply wait for him to do something? Maybe He only responds to direct requests and doesn’t actually want to spend time with me!” I felt as if I was losing complete control by doing nothing, and I like to be in control! I found myself thinking, “If I’m in control, then He’s not.” It was a call to surrender and the surrender looked like silence. In the end I felt at peace about my fast, about sitting and waiting on God and my months of waiting for a plumber. I even felt at peace about searching out a plumber on my own even though it would look as if my months of prayer had ultimately failed.
I did go find a plumber through the best resources and connection that were available to me. The bid was twice as large as I had hoped for. I tried other connections and was never able to even get in contact with them. But, praise God, He was still planning on answering my prayers through a source that I didn’t see. That way He was sure to get the glory.
On Monday June 18th, almost exactly six months after returning home from Kuwait, we started the plumbing work. A friend of mine stumbled upon a plumber through a casual conversation with a mutual friend at church. It was a direct answer to prayer and the cost was less than half of the other bid I had gotten on my own (thanks to extreme generosity of the plumber himself). God truly does hear and respond to prayers.
Let me know if you would like to sit down and talk about how awesome our God is. I would love to grab coffee with you. If you would like to learn more about our ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact us. It would also be encouraging to hear about what God is doing in your own life! Please feel free to find either one of us on Facebook, e-mail us, or call us.
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Nathan & Michelle Banker
1236 Upton Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55411