One thing we don’t do enough of as Christians is to tell our faith stories to one another. What I mean by “faith stories” is quite simple – stories that communicate God’s faithfulness and sufficiency to meet our every need. I think there are at least two reasons for this. First, we aren’t stepping out in faith and trusting God so we simply don’t have any. And second, we are fearful that if we tell them, it will sound prideful on our part. We fear that if we tell the story, it will come across as if we are trying to gain glory from it. Let me affirm that our testimony as Christians should be centered upon the message of the gospel (1 John 1:1-4), but at the same time our testimony should be backed up by evidences of God’s faithfulness in the here and now (Acts 12:17). A couple weeks ago, I decided to tell one of these faith stories to our church. What follows is an account.
Several years ago, I believed that God was calling me to attend a conference. At the time, I was in seminary in Vancouver and the conference was in Atlanta. If you know your geography, you will know that that’s a long trip and it would have to be by airplane – so I booked a flight. I also booked a hotel that was pretty close to where the conference would be. Now, given my flight times, I would have to stay three nights, but I only booked a hotel for the middle night. It sounds foolish but that is just how I felt God was leading me. I would have to trust God to provide accommodations for the other nights. There was also another thing that would have to be of faith. At the time, I wasn’t yet 25 and if you want to rent a car, you need to be 25 or older (maybe this has changed by now). And I didn’t have the money to hire a taxi take me all over the place so both transportation and my accommodations for two nights would have to be “by faith.”
As this trip approached I was starting to get concerned about how everything would come together. But the week before I left, as I was telling one of my friends about the trip and some of the details, he said that his wife’s brother was in university in Atlanta. I can’t remember how it all came together, I just remember this guy agreed to pick me up at the airport and then take me to the conference the next day. Coupled with that, another one of my seminary friends said he had a pastor friend in Atlanta who was attending the same conference I was attending. He gave me his cell number and once again, this connection would prove to be vital.
So off I went to attend this conference. My flight arrived at midnight the night before the conference started and just as planned my friend’s wife’s brother (sounds funny doesn’t it?) picked me up, and I stayed overnight with him and his little family. Early the next morning, he drove me to the conference about a half hour away. It’s amazing to me, but that’s the only contact I have ever had with him. God placed him in my life for that very short time and I have never talked to him again.
I attended the first day of the conference, and quite frankly, the conference was a disappointment. I could tell you more about it but I think the Lord had me there for other reasons. The theme of this trip was – faith.
After the first day ended, somehow, I was able to find transportation to the hotel I had booked. I had a good nights sleep but there was no “resting easy” in the sense that I knew the next morning I would have to find someone to drive me to the conference center. I could only rest in the knowledge that God would care of everything. The next morning, yet again, the Lord provided free transportation to the conference. A coincidence? I think not.
During the second day of the conference I was able to connect with my other friend’s friend who was a pastor. I didn’t have a cell phone so I think I was just borrowing other people’s cell phones but eventually I got a hold of him and we found each other and really hit it off. After the conferenced was over I was privileged to spend some time with the staff of his church and they took me out for a fancy meal and then ice cream afterward. By now, you won’t be surprise, but my new friend asked if I would like to stay overnight at his place. Of course I agreed, and after a short sleep he took me to the airport first thing in the morning (like 4am) for me to catch my flight home.
There is more that I could tell you about that trip but I think you get the picture. Just like the Christian life, this trip was all about faith. I remember when I first told that story to my wife (we were dating at the time) – she thought I was crazy! After six years of marriage, she now knows that without a doubt, but as I look back on that whole experience, I see God’s hand. Simply put – He took care of me. Not having transportation and accommodations was no barrier too difficult for God (Job 42:2).
My wife and I could tell many more stories of God’s faithfulness in our lives (you may have already heard some of them). But as the apostle Paul reminds us, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17). Paul also tells us, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). God must get all the glory! Let me encourage you to tell your faith stories, and to tell them often, but do so in a way that honors God. The orientation of faith is always off of self and onto God. Telling these stories will remind others that God is faithful and trustworthy. So go ahead – tell your story!