I put myself through Bible School way, way, way back in 1991. I was only 21 years old without much experience doing anything other than working as a bank teller. So, that’s what I did.
Let me tell you, the money was just rolling in (said with dripping sarcasm and eyes rolling).
The first year was a struggle, paying rent and utilities and food and insurance and making a school payment every month only working part-time as a bank teller and a few hours a week selling class tapes at my school.
So, I decided I was going to work a second job during the summer to pay off the whole second year before school even started. I didn’t ask if this was God’s plan. I didn’t pray about it. I just decided.
I knew I would have to stop doing some things I was doing for Him – but hey. It seemed like a good idea, so I forged ahead.
Well…three days in to it I was so miserable I finally did pray about it. I just had no peace. It didn’t seem right at all. And the Holy Spirit sweetly said, “I never told you to do that. Let it go. I will provide for your school.”
So I did. And all summer long I kept waiting for that check to come in the mail. You know, that check that would totally cover a whole year’s tuition at once. Before school started. So I would have it easier during the school year.
I waited and I waited and I waited. Up until the first day of school, I waited. And guess what? It never came.
Talk about being devastated. I had enough for the first payment. But that BIG CHECK to cover the whole thing? Not so much.
Every month, when it looked like I wouldn’t have enough to cover my tuition payment, He faithfully provided, but the lump sum never came.
But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the Lord their God.” (Hosea 1:7 NLT)
I read this verse this morning, and it made me smile because it reminded me of my Bible School tuition. In essence, what He’s saying is this:
“I’m going to save Judah, all right. But I’m not going to do it the normal way – with military and weapons and natural might. I’m not going to do it the way they expect Me to. I am going to save them, but it’s going to be by My power in My own way.”
I’m so glad God isn’t normal and He doesn’t always do things the “normal” way. And I love that He told them how He wasn’t going to do it but never really told them the actual plan.
God rarely does things how we expect Him to. Hardly ever. He doesn’t even try to fit into the box I keep wanting to put Him in. I had Him in the box of “it has to be a lump sum check” instead of the “I’ll prove Myself faithful every month” box.
Could He have moved on someone’s heart to pay my entire year’s tuition up front? Absolutely. Just like he could have kept the 3 Hebrew children out of the fiery furnace and kept Daniel out of the lion’s den and kept Paul and Silas from being thrown in jail.
He could have led the Israelites by a different route out of Egypt so they didn’t get backed up against the Red Sea. He COULD have done all those things. But He didn’t.
I don’t always understand why He does things the way He does things or why He allows what He allows. Do you? But that doesn’t sway my trust in Him. He is always good.
Sometimes He rescues us from the trial. But sometimes He allows us to walk through the fire. He allows us to get thrown into the lion’s den. Sometimes He allows us to be backed up against the Sea while the enemy is closing in on us ready to take us out.
And He covers us. He shuts the lion’s mouths. He splits the Sea so we can walk right through it.
Or He skips the big lump sum check so we can see His faithfulness daily. So we can see His power working for us day after day, week after week, month after month.
Either way, it ends in victory. Whether He rescues us up front or walks us right through the Sea, the end result is still the same. Faithfulness.
I would have much rather gotten the big check before school started, but the outcome was the same either way. Faithfulness. He provided.
And to be honest, I like His way better. Now. I didn’t really then, but looking back, I’m thankful He did it His way. I wouldn’t trade what I learned of Him through that season for anything in the world.
His plan is always good – even when we don’t understand. Hold on to hope and don’t let go of trust. He is always faithful. Always.