A few years ago I heard a message at Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit that I never forgot. Last year, when our humanitarian aid team was tasked with increasing gifts in-kind for the growing needs of our domestic and international programs, I was once again reminded of and stirred by this message.
It comes from a story in 2 Kings 3 when the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom joined together to fight Mesha, king of Moab. The three kings and their armies set out for Moab, only to run out of water after seven days in the desert. They were afraid their armies and animals would die and asked Elisha to speak to the Lord on their behalf.
Elisha prophesies in verses 16 and 17: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts” (NASB). The following morning, water was flowing from the direction of Edom.
Our team adopted an attitude of stepping out in faith with full confidence that God would provide. We started “digging ditches” and trusted God to fill them with water.
We took a look at some of our needs: children’s clothing, volunteers and food for clients in need. Over the following weeks and months, God didn’t just bring water–He made it rain!
We did some research and sent an email to Just Between Friends, a business that organizes biannual consignment sales for children’s clothing. They wanted to partner with Buckner by donating leftover clothing that didn’t go during their next sale. God filled the ditch we dug to overflowing; We received more than 20 pallets of children’s clothing worth about $50,000.
We needed volunteers to sort, pack and load children’s clothes on a Sunday after the Just Between Friends sale. Again, God sent rain–a phone call from a group that wanted to volunteer with us, but was only available to work Sundays.
Finally, we looked at our food aid needs and realized we couldn’t contact potential food donors until we had the cold storage space to keep the food fresh. We trusted God to fulfill this need and a week later learned that a grant had been awarded by The Dallas Foundation so that we could purchase a walk-in freezer and refrigerator.
James 2:26 says that faith without works is dead. It takes faith to dig ditches, but we must dig ditches so that God can bring the rain!
“For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
Matt Asato is the senior director of ministry engagement for Buckner Foundation.
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