There are three major side effects that I see as I’m involved in raising money for the church planting fellowship (though I know there are others).
The first thing I’ve noticed is that I wear my heart much more on my sleeve than usual. I’m a fairly stable guy, especially when it comes to all the “emotional stuff.” So it was with some consternation that I realized my increasing fragility. There has been this trend where in a sad set of circumstances, not only, would I think “this is sad,” not only would I feel weighed down, or gloomy, but I would begin to get choked up. At one point, I was preaching on Jesus’ words “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” and there was this emotion spilling out. Another Sunday I was in church singing a beautiful song based on the 23rd Psalm and as I thought about the love of God I could barely hold it together. There’s also the darker side where my anger seems right under the surface, ready to jump up at the slightest provocation. At some point I was talking with Hillary and reflecting on such episodes and the pieces began to align.
We’re a little worn down so everything underneath is closer to the surface. Furthermore, we are in a position of need and feeling vulnerable, so everything is felt a little more intensely. Our highs, lows, temptations, and strengths all seem to have increased in intensity. I guess we are like rivers swollen in spring time or nearly dry in drought and there is little in between.
The second unintended effect of fundraising is an increased sense of providence. Christians regularly say that God rules this world both in the large events and the mundane, ordering all things for his purposes. Each day I believe this to varying degrees, but as of late I’m tapping into this reality more because I have to believe in providence. There is this goal ahead of us, initially to raise money and eventually to help start a new church. Both of these, from a human perspective are beyond us, so it pushes us more and more towards relying on God’s providence. On the financial side of things, we know that God has the resources and we’re looking for the time and place in which he will make the connections happen. We don’t know when or where, so it helps us to be even more vigilant to live in the light of God’s providence day by day.
Finally, we see more clearly the things we run towards instead of Jesus. When we’re vulnerable, or feeling thin, or unsure of God’s providential hand we all tend to cope someway. All these mechanisms of attempting to function apart from God become clearer, as does their insufficency. We have ice cream in the freezer right now and it is very tasty, but a spoonful, or bowlful, or gallon does not bring peace.