Little Faith in a Big God
A couple of weeks ago, the president and CEO of Mount Hermon sent out a plea saying that they need $4 million in donations by the end of the year to recover from the losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have no problem believing this can happen, because there are many people like myself who love Mount Hermon and are willing to sacrifice deeply to keep that sacred place open, confident that God will supply their financial needs as they give generously.
Last week, wildfires started raging through the San Jose area surrounding Mount Hermon. They grew rapidly, covering tens of thousands of acres among the beautiful redwood forests. I prayed for God’s protection of Mount Hermon, believing that he could send angels to guard the conference center, just as he did a hundred years ago when another set of wildfires threatened the area.
As I read and shared updates about the fires, I heard some people saying we should pray for rain. I resisted the thought. I’ve lived in California more than 40 years, and it just doesn’t rain in this state during the summer. So while I continued to pray for God’s protection, I couldn’t bring myself to pray specifically for rain.
This morning, one of my Mount Hermon friends posted a graphic of the local weather, and in big white letters on a sky-blue background, it said SHOWERS for the Scott’s Valley area! Showers! She posted a picture of a gorgeous sunrise in a clear sky, a stark contrast to the pictures she’d posted just a day or two before of angry red skies filled with smoke and flame.
Oh, me of little faith.
A few months ago, I learned that the Mount Hermon Association, in response to the pandemic, had made the difficult decision to no longer sponsor the writers conference. I contacted Steve Laube, and after much discussion, he decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise enough money to fund the 2021 conference, with the idea that proceeds from that conference could then fund the following year and thus continue indefinitely.
Kickstarter pledges came rolling in right away from people who love the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I was encouraged to believe this could actually happen.
Last week we hit the halfway point in pledges. I posted an announcement that we have confirmed the amazing New York Times best-selling author Charles Martin as our keynoter! A day or two later I posted that Trisha Goyer would be teaching our major morning track on writing basics. A couple of days later I announced Deb Raney would be teaching our intermediate fiction track. Each of those posts was followed by $2-3,000 more in pledges. Woo-hoo! Praise the Lord! But two or three thousand dollars every two or three days is not going to get us to $200,000 by August 31.
With the deadline for the campaign just one week away, we’re still about $90,000 short. Since most of the people who want the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference to continue have already pledged, reaching that goal seems impossible.
But our God is a God of miracles. If he wants something to happen, it will, no matter how impossible it may appear.
Now, I’m not one to claim I know how God will respond to prayers. I have no idea what’s going to happen. But this I do know. If God wants to save the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2021 and beyond through this Kickstarter campaign, he can bring down showers of pledges, and we will reach that lofty financial goal.
I also know that if we don’t reach the Kickstarter goal by August 31, I don’t have to despair. Perhaps God has another way to save the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Maybe we’re not supposed to plan a conference for 2021 because God knows that’s not the right timing. Could be we’re supposed to take a year off, and perhaps God will supply the funds to resume in 2022. It’s possible there won’t be another Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for a while, maybe not ever again. God might have something else in store for us. If we can’t fund the writers conference at Mount Hermon, it could be the Lord wants a writers retreat there instead. So many possibilities!
I don’t want my faith to be so small that I limit God to performing only the miracles I can conceive of being possible. I want to be open to having him blow my mind with the way he provides in ways that are different from what I can envision.
One of my favorite Scripture verses is Ephesians 3:20-21, which says that God can do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think”—for his glory. He has certainly proven that in many ways in my life.
Scripture also tells us that all things work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28). Only our God could bring something good out of a pandemic. Or wildfires. But he can. God loves to do things we see as impossible. So I don’t want to limit my faith to the things I want to see happen or the things I think are within the realm of possibility.
I’m eager to see all the blessings he brings out of our current horrendous circumstances. Because when God sends showers of rain to California in August, we know it’s his hand at work. And miracles like that increase my little faith dramatically!