There's this amazing place in San Francisco that I love to take people to. It's called La Taqueria. It's on of the original burrito spots in the Mission District. It's the best burrito I've ever had. I hope I get to take you there one day. It's a cash only, wait in line, crammed into a small space kind of place. When you finally get the burrito, it's this juicy work of wonder. And it's messy. Very messy. But so worth it (just ask the guy in the picture above).
I'm currently living in what many people would consider a nightmare. I'm experiencing the biggest reason why so many people don't move to San Francisco. I'm in the thick of the cause for so few to have been obedient to move to the least churched city in America and serve and love this city.
I'm jobless, broke, behind on bills, and have no idea how I'm going to make it another day financially in San Francisco.
Before I say another word, I have to say this, I'm not asking you for money. I'm not asking you to give. I won't do that. Not because I'm too proud but because I don't believe that is generosity. This isn't a pressure post. This is a posture post.
When I moved to San Francisco, I knew this could be a possibility. I moved anyway. I moved here knowing that it would be hard and in some ways, impossible. I knew I needed more money in savings than I had. I knew I needed a better degree than I had. I knew that I needed a better work history than I had. All in all, I knew that financially, I didn't have what it takes to do life in San Francisco. But still...
I made up in my heart that I would refuse to let the financial climate of San Francisco determine my faith.
I've made good financial decisions since I moved here and I've made poor financial decisions. I had a great job that looked like it would turn into me making 80k+ a year only to have someone come back and say they misspoke and they wouldn't need more after a month. I've had people generously give towards what God is doing through my life here in SF. I've been able to give to others in need and help make a difference in their life. All in all, it's been an amazing time here in San Francisco.
People have asked me if I am still called to San Francisco since I'm struggling financially. That's a great question. I don't believe that my obedience to God is dependent on money. People have said that since there aren't any open doors here that I should just pursue other open doors elsewhere. I believe that if it's an open door outside of the vision, it's not an open door - it's a trap.
I've had other people tell me that I'm storing up riches in heaven. Which I believe and is very true. But I asked and my landlady doesn't accept heavenly riches in the place of earthly currency. I've heard people say, "it's going to be worth it." I agree. It will be. But as a pregnant mother has the information to know that the birthing process is painful it doesn't compare to the feelings of pain she experiences.
You can know something will be painful but that doesn't diminish the feelings of pain.
Last month, I asked a small group of friends and family to be praying for me about my finances. I was hopeful that things were going to be different this month. Turns out, they were even harder. I did discover something amazing though.
My dad decided he wanted to send me some money to be able to pay rent. He did it in a very intriguing way. I have Chase bank and if another Chase bank user sends money, it's nearly instantaneous. So my dad asked his son-in-law to send me the money and my dad reimbursed him. It was pretty disheartening because not only did I have to have my dad bail me out but my brother-in-law knew how weak and helpless I was. Definitely humbling.
Until God spoke to me about it. My heavenly Father used my earthly Dad to provide for me. And the way he did it wasn't pretty. It was messy. My Father provided by using my Dad through his son-in-law. Kind of reminds you of another story of the Father using the Son to provide. Not only that, my Dad told me not to see it as "having to call your dad" but that he believes in me and in what God has called me to do and that he & my mom were honored to be able to sow seed into this ministry.
I'm learning that so often we want God's provision to be clean and pretty but in actuality it's messy and bloody.
There was nothing clean and pretty about the cross and that was the greatest story of God's provision in our lives. Sometimes it can be easy but more often than not it's painful. Why? Because pain makes us ask better questions. I've asked God more questions during the last couple months than in maybe the previous 8 combined. The interesting things about questions is this...
To ask God questions, you have to get close to him and it starts a conversation with him.
I think God uses these situations in our lives to show us new things. To stretch our faith. To draw us closer. And ultimately, to be a better Father to us. I've got some friends who's parents were very wealthy and the kids never had a single need. Whatever they wanted, they got. They never felt the weight of waiting to see if their parents would say yes or not. They just went and got it or had their driver go get it for them. Coincidently, the kids and parents never had very good conversations. They weren't very close.
I've never needed God to come through financially more than I do now. It's just a reality. As I said, this is posture post and not a pressure post. I've got a posture prayer, a posture of trusting God, and a posture of needing God. I'll never ask people to give but I will always ask people to ask God what they should give.
Chiefly, I can't wait to come back and add to this story. To write in how God showed up. Maybe it will be as early as today. Maybe it will be awhile. Maybe it will be a few years. Maybe I'll need to give my login to a friend or family member and when I die, they can come add to it. They could say something like, "Andy is in heaven experiencing the incredible richness of being with Jesus."
If you're reading this, I hope you're encouraged by this. I hope you are reading every word in faith that God is going to show up. I hope that as you read this, you think back to the times when you thought there was no hope and God showed up. I hope you're reminded of every promise that God gives. That no matter what happens with my life and me being in San Francisco, whether I'm rich or poor, sleeping on the streets or in a comfy bed, a failure or a finisher - you'll know that God has got me and more importantly, God has got you. It might get messy but messy is God's speciality.