There was a time, around three or four years ago, that I met with a potentially large donor. As I left the meeting there were indications that this particular donor was going to fund the construction of the training center in Central America. I was elated as I left the meeting with lofty thoughts of how awesome the will of God really was.
It was perfect. This donation would allow the training center to be built quickly and without interrupting operational funds. This elation lasted only a few days until a phone call came bearing the news that a change in direction for that foundation meant there would be no funds forth coming.
We began the long process of praying and securing volunteer workers from partner churches and other networks of relationships. It was slow. To say that operational funds were interrupted is quite an understatement. I remember the very first volunteer team that arrived to work on the site as if it were yesterday. They probably wondered what they had gotten themselves into as they hiked the mountain daily, trudging through the mud, carrying bags of cement and whatever else that needed to go up. I was too excited to realize how crazy this must have seemed to them. All in all, my wife kept a good spirit but she often asked, "Honey, are you sure about this?" From the outside looking in, and sometimes from the inside looking out, it did in fact seem crazy to build a training center in the middle of the jungle for people we have yet to meet. The process has been long, tiring, tedious and extremely rewarding.
Some how the vision stayed alive and we kept persevering. As we sit six months or so away from the completion of the first phase of construction, I see an entirely different picture of God's will. It is my unofficial estimate that some two hundred plus people have come to Central America to help build the center that will serve and train Christian workers from some of the world's most difficult places. I have also learned that the purpose of the training center extends beyond the leaders who will attend. I have watched the Lord work as these two hundred workers have come. I can without equivocation tell you lives have been changed. Many have caught a vision for missions. Some have found the Lord for the first time. Others have renewed their relationship with God. Many have been renewed and refreshed in the Lord. It has been truly amazing to watch.
I am coming to realize that God is never in a hurry. Time is on His side. In fact, you will never find scripture encouraging us to hurry. The enemy is the one who wants us to hurry because his time is short. I often think of how much Kingdom work would have been lost if we had landed that large donation. The plans of God are so far beyond my comprehension that even hindsight doesn't always give full revelation. I do know this, Hebrews 6:12 tells us it is through faith and patience we inherit the promises of God. Many times for me faith seems easier than patience. God has a way of making sure patience and perseverance is worked into our character. The large donation would have prevented some character building in my own life as well as prevented a great blessing in the lives of all who have come over the past few years to volunteer. I guess God knows best.