I stared at my friend. "What did you say?"
“I’ll pray about it, but I plan to write you a check for the whole amount.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. What a gift!
My excitement was short-lived, however.
“Um, Kim…. God said ‘No.’”
“He doesn’t want me to pay your way.
“Are you sure?”
“OK. I guess I should pray about what He has in mind instead.”
After praying I felt led to write a creative fundraising letter. Ideas dropped in my mind and flowed out through my fingers. Soon I was smiling at my “Participation Invitation.”
So the letter was written. But should I send it to everyone on my contact list? Jesus, who should I send it to?
Scrolling down the list, I felt drawn to certain names. When I finished, I counted the ones I’d highlighted. Thirty five! That’s not enough, is it, Lord? Waiting in the silence, I felt I’d heard correctly. The next day, I put 35 letters in the mail.
The first response came from an unemployed friend. She handed me a five-dollar bill and said a prayer that God would multiply it again and again. And He did. Friends and family responded with joy and generosity. A large check arrived from my best friend from high school. Her note said she’d been saving money to give to missions. When opportunities arose, she would pray, “Is this it, Lord?” Each time she felt she should wait. When my letter arrived, she felt God say, “This is it!”
Out of 35 letters, 31 people responded. When the donations were totaled, there was so much beyond what I needed that I had $500 to buy needed supplies for the mission we'd be serving!
Years have passed since this experience, but the lessons I learned serve me well to this day. For example:
- God’s “No” grew my faith. It required more to believe for the funds than to deposit a single check from one donor.
- I felt joy in hearing and obeying God’s direction in writing and sending the letter to specific people.
- Because each recipient was asked to pray, I had broader prayer support.
- Those who had been waiting to give experienced God’s pleasure in their obedience.
- The additional $500 would not have been received if only one person had paid for my trip.
- When I returned from the trip I had the pleasure of sending photos and “brag on God” stories to 31 people in 6 states, not to just one donor.
All these blessings could have been missed.
But thankfully, God said “No.”
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8 NLT)
Postscript: Three years after this trip, the friend who heard God say “No” invited me to lunch. She slipped an envelope across the table. To my astonishment, it contained $1000. With a smile she said, “God said ‘Yes’ this time.”