The fundraising effort has stagnated a little. Perhaps the holiday weekend. Perhaps the initial interest in our cause and the passing it around is over. Times are hard for everyone. I totally appreciate all that everyone has done to help us out.
Our friend, Sudesh, when he heard that our chance of attending Matt's Marine Corps graduation was looking slim, offered to spearhead this fund drive. At first, we hemmed and hawed. Although Sudesh has assured me that in Hindu traditions, begging is a noble profession, since it ties the members of the community together, Joe and I did not grow up within such cultural norms. For me, it does not feel noble. It feels kind of like Joe and I, 1) are too disorganized to handle our affairs efficiently, which is true; and 2) expect others who likely struggle with their own living expenses and to give their own kids a few extra things, to give to us also. Which is not true.
We eventually said yes because, as Sudesh encouraged us, it gives those who are able to help, and who want to help, a way to do it. It lets people know there is a need. He wrote recently, "Please understand that I am doing this for a very selfish reason. It feels great to be part of your family. We show our love by these efforts and I feel very grateful that Joe and you have given us this unique opportunity to serve you and your family. You are giving us great pleasure by letting us be part of a fun experience. I suspect most of your friends and family are getting this pleasure too."
We don't at all consider it selfish, Sudesh. We're very appreciative of your concern for us, and of all your efforts, and the efforts of those others involved. We in no way expect others to come to our rescue, or to give unwillingly. Really, really, we don't want anyone feeling any obligation to give.
Please continue to circulate the website for the U.S. Marine Grad Project. Maybe there's somebody out there just waiting to help someone like us. If enough moneys are raised, we hope to continue this effort to help other needy families in the future. It would make a good family project to keep this going into the future, with proceeds from some sort of sale or other effort each year going toward helping a local family of a recruit get to San Diego for graduation.
Regardless of what happens with the fund raiser, we know that God is good. God knows what is best, and what He will eventually allow to be. We know He has our best interests at heart.
I'm currently working on our church's VBS curriculum. As background for the lessons I'm preparing, I've reread the stories of the life of Joseph in Genesis (chapters 37, and 39-50).
Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob. This obvious favoritism garnered his brothers' hatred and jealousy. Eventually, they threw him in a pit, and when the Midianite traders happened by, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt.
But God was with Joseph. God gave him a good master in Potiphar, and allowed Joseph to rise to prominence among Potiphar's servants. But this, too led to more hardship, since it attracted the wrong kind of attentions from Potiphar's wife. Joseph fled from her with these well-known words, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" But she, in her frustration, falsely accused him to Potiphar. And so Joseph ended up in prison.
Here again, God caused Joseph to rise to prominence among the prisoners and jailers. He gave Joseph the gift of interpreting dreams, which after a long wait led to the attention of the Pharaoh.
Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of saving food for the land from the good years, in order to combat the famine in the following years of drought. Through this, Joseph's brothers came to buy grain in Egypt, and eventually the family was reunited. Many people's lives were spared during lean years. And God used the family's generations in Egypt to further His will in Canaan, the land that He was preparing for them. Joseph said to his brothers, "You intended ill toward me, but God intended good."
God's hand is apparent in all this history.
Financial hardship is nothing nearly as troublesome as all the things Joseph went through. I know God will provide for us what we need. I don't know yet whether He has it in His plans to allow our family to travel together to Matt's Marine Corps Recruit Training Graduation. That remains to be seen.
But I do know that He will work through all the blessings of this fund raiser to work His will. I need not depend upon myself to solve all these things. I need not worry or doubt. I need not depend upon this effort to be the end-all of my well-being or that of my family. We have eternal salvation through faith in Jesus. Matt has this same gift. Under that umbrella, everything is good.
My friend, Lisa, shared this quote from Jeremiah with me a few years back and it's become one of my favorite. The later verses are so full of comfort and hope. And the first verses serve as a reminded of what happens when I focus my trust on things other than God.
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit."