Last spring we began to see amazing answers to prayer in Boston. I was convinced we were about to see a breakthrough. The book was selling, and I was starting to explore finding a house in Boston.
In June I painted at a conference, and it was a good but intense time. At the end, I asked a friend who was a ministry leader to pray for me. As she prayed, God gave her two prophetic words–God wanted me to step out further in faith, and the Lord was going to change my alignment.
I wasn’t too excited about either proposition.
This summer has been some of the most challenging times in recent years–I moved out of where I was living and suddenly found my temporary plans not work out. I left my church because of a series of discoveries that made it impossible for me to stay. In the process, I lost about a third of my monthly financial support. With no home and no church, I suddenly was walking in a level of faith I really had never seen before. Three times this summer I have gone on trips having a way to get to my destination but no way to return. Each time rides or cash were provided. Several times I have left the house without enough cash to do what I needed to do only to see the “blank” get filled in. I have run out of food a few times, and seen God meet the need. I have had to let go of control nearly every day, and accept that whatever happens is God’s plan for today.
In other words, God has been increasing my faith. When God wants to give you more faith He will give you obstacles and problems that require faith to overcome. Faith is developed when you build a history with God of taking risks and seeing God’s hand move on your behalf. I tell people you can see the hand of God in the rear view mirror. God has not brought you this far so that He can watch you fail. He has brought you this far to take you to the end of the journey.
I am grateful for my friend’s prophecy over me this spring, because in the midst of the difficulties I have been able to regroup, get perspective, and thank God for the promises. Of course, in the beginning I was joyful and excited about this adventure of faith. As I have had to see the controlling and abusive side of people, as I have had to endure the unknown, and as I have had to experience the grinding experience of financial difficulty; that glee about the adventure has worn off. Real faith is born through perseverance. Perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Real hope–the kind that God gives–is about expecting that something really good is coming. That belief that something good is coming in the midst of pain and difficulty is faith.
Some amazing things have been happening through it all. My book has begun to go viral, and it made the rounds of a number of Christian conferences. I met some amazing arts leaders through this phenomenon. And I have begun to see a shift not only in my life, but in the lives of my friends. God is realigning us.
I wish I could say this season is really over, that I am settled in my own home in Boston, that the finances were looking good, and that the book was on the bestseller list. I can’t. But I can say that I know God is faithful. I know that God is good. I know that He loves me. I know that I have not grieved Him and these things aren’t happening because God is mad at me. That, my friends, is real faith.
Christ Otto is the Director of Belonging House. His most recent book is An Army Arising: Why Artists are the Frontline of the Next Move of God.