The African sunset had finally slipped out of sight, dragging it’s heat and light along with it. The stars awoke in a nocturnal procession of twinkling brilliance as the moon rose in it’s dominance. Nighttime in Africa was both beautiful and dangerous. The dangers of the African countryside expelled the novice missionaries from going out, while the beauty of the nighttime sky kept them from going to sleep. Around the tin roofed houses of the compound stood brick walls with fierce shards of glass jutting out from their tops. This protected the missionaries from thieves as well as prowling predators. The young trainees were safe within the walls, and so the team stood outside and gazed upward at the milky way spanning itself across the heavens over Africa. While the blistering heat drove people indoors and the dangers of the night kept them there, the safety of the compound allowed for the young missionaries to see an unspeakable beauty that none of their families back in the states have seen.
One member by the name of Joshua stood on the side 0f the house opposite to his team. He needed a moment between him and God. As he leaned on a low hanging branch he looked up into the stars and shared with God his most honest feelings about his finances (have you ever had a moment like that?). His monthly supporters were dropping like flies at a concerning rate. He knew that God wanted him to be there, but everything else seemed to contradict that knowledge.
“I’m so lost”, he said to himself more than to God. He let drop his heavy hand from the branch. He honestly felt like God was being nothing more than a shadow in the lamplight, an image with nothing solid to it. He slowly made his way back into the house, but little did he know that the Lord was about to speak to him…
The next day, as Josh was reading his Bible, he had a very real encounter with the Lord. As he read Jonah 4:10, the words seemed to heavily apply to his situation. They thumped on the inside of him like the thud of a battering ram against a large heavy wall that he had built between him and God’s faithfulness.
Then the LORD said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.” (NASB)
It seemed in that moment that God was telling Josh’s heart, “I was the one that provided for you to get here, and I will sustain you. Josh, I know all your needs and will take care of them.”
Again Josh was struck at the core as someone made mention of Nehemiah 9:21. They read it out loud, and as they read, the wall inside toppled and fell.
Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. (NASB)
“Josh,” the Lord seemed to whisper, “I provided for a whole nation to live in the desert for forty years… I’m sure I can take care of your needs.”
Josh was inclined to go to Africa by the Lord’s leading, and though the amount of money he needed for his internship was daunting, it was still provided for. He knew it was God’s provision that sent him on a plane in the first place, and he believed in God to keep him there. And that’s exactly what God did.