Three years ago, I started the habit of praying at the beginning of each year, asking the Lord what He wants me to focus on in the coming year, what He wants to teach me and in which area He wants me to grow.
At the beginning of 2012, he gave me: year of openness.
It turned out to be the year that I went to Africa, the year that I opened up about a lot of hurt and lies and shame and finally let go of them, the year that I met a lot of life-shaping friends, the year in which I learned to share my faith unashamedly and excitedly.
2013 was the year of relationship.
He gave me the word before a certain man from South Africa even told me that he liked me – let alone asked me to marry him!
2014 was the year of being still and knowing that He is God.
In 2014, He turned our lives upside down and called us to Japan. It was the year in which He made us move four times and let us start in different ministries twice. 2014 was possibly the year in which I cried more than in any other year before, in which I was confronted with enough anxiety and insecurity and existential questions for a lifetime. And yet, the challenge remained: Be still and know that I am God.
So what is the word for 2015?
This place of trust isn’t a comfortable place to be; in fact, it flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught about proper planning. We like finding refuge in what we already have rather than in what we hope God will provide. But when Christ says to count the cost of following Him, it means we must surrender everything. It means being willing to go without an extra tunic or a place to sleep at night, and sometimes without knowing where we are going.
God wants us to trust Him with abandon. He wants to show us how He works and cares for us.
The year of faith started with my cell phone breaking. I accidentally left it in a puddle of water and when I checked it later, the touch screen wouldn´t react anymore. This was my third cell phone since I came to South Africa three years ago.
Cell phone number one was so old, that I sometimes struggled to read SMS, because the screen was so scratched (and SMS was really the only thing I could receive on the old brick – I had never even heard of whatsapp before I had an Electronic-Engineer-Fiancé).
One morning, a thought crossed my mind while I was praying for the day: “Why don´t you ask God for a new phone?” “No!”, I reasoned “That would be so selfish. And unnecessary. My phone is fine.”
Later that day, a friend of mine gave me an envelope. “Maybe you´ll one day buy yourself a proper phone with this.”, he mumbled. I opened the envelope, dumb-struck. And I found more money than I would have ever allowed myself to spend for a phone.
A few days later my old phone finally gave up its spirit. And I went to buy myself my first smart phone. The phone didn´t live long. And yet, as soon as it broke, someone gave me an even better one.
And now phone number three was gone.
Again, I prayed.
I just don´t want to separate my life anymore – divide it between the things that I talk about with God and the things that I somehow assume I have to take care of myself.
A few days later, a family member gave me his old phone. When I asked the Electronic-Engineer-Husband whether this phone is better than my previous one, he looked at me with a glimpse of unbelief. “A lot!”, he burst out. And then he gave me a list of reasons.
Reasons why it is worth of putting my trust into my Lord and God and Provider.
This story is not about phones. It´s not about blessings becoming bigger and better. It is about choosing a life-style where you need God to come through for everything – even for technology.
Christians today like to play it safe. We want to put ourselves in situations where we are safe “even if there is no God.” But if we truly desire to please God, we cannot live that way. We have to do things that cost us during our life on earth but will be more than worth it in eternity.