You Don’t Know What You’ve Done

To whom it may concern,

I don’t know who you are, but I owe you some significant thanks, and because simply saying, “Thank you” is not enough, I want to share this story of grace with you.

Last week, I logged into our Seminary’s online management tool to check into a class I was awaiting a syllabus on. Our classes for the Spring semester began yesterday, Monday the 11th. Upon logging in I saw the familiar alert exclamation points near the top of the screen, but this time something was different. Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 7.40.58 PMThese alerts usually mean that there is an assignment due very soon and frequently are helpful reminders for those classes that incorporate their use. The school also uses these alerts to make us aware of our financial responsibilities.
Bethlehem College and Seminary has very strict policies for finances, and even acceptance into the program requires demonstration of financial solvency. The only school loans I have are still hanging over my head from education I took from MidAmerica Nazarene College (now University) almost 20 years ago, and I have not taken on any new debt to enroll in Bethlehem College and Seminary. Registration in the fall requires an up front full payment, or agreement to a payment program each month. With our new house and budget, these little exclamation point alerts remind me each month that the second largest expense item on our monthly budget is due. We had just made a payment (A few days late) for December and I was going to check the due date for the January payment which would soon come due. Imagine my surprise when the alert that I was expecting to see was missing altogether.

What error has occurred that would cause this? I started digging further. I checked my current balance and for some reason, it was surrounded by parenthesis, which I really wasn’t sure what meant at the time. Since I work at Bethlehem Baptist Church, and the Seminary offices are in the same building, I walked down to the Bursar’s office to find out exactly what the status of my account was. When she waved me into her office, she began to glow with joy, informing me that this was the favorite part of her job. She then told me something that blew me away. Someone, who was not to be named, had covered my bill for the rest of the semester.

Now, as one who believes solidly in the sovereignty of God, I know very well that God works in mysterious ways, and he consistently uses means. I also know that any time God does one thing, he is doing thousands of things. I wanted to offer you a peek into what this has meant for me and for my family.

  • Hardships come when you least expect it, but because of this gift, I have had extra time to care for my family during a particularly difficult time when my son was hospitalized.
  • My second largest expense each month is now covered in full, and even when the fall semester comes around I will more readily be able to afford my next tuition bill because of how we will be able to save over the next months.
  • Our earned income will be able to be used on getting rid of our unsecured debt more quickly than expected, better equipping ourselves for future ministry.
  • Peace of mind: I don’t know how to put a dollar value on this commodity, but Paula and I both have been able to breath some deep sighs of relief on multiple levels, because of this blessing.
  • We have been working on fundraising for a few months and this support encourages others to participate as well.
  • My heart is encouraged after a very tough first semester, to move on, trudge forward, and rely on the strength of Christ (2 Cor 12:9) to carry me through this next semester. I know The Lord still wants me here because he is providing perfectly.
  • Everyone I share this news with glorifies God with me, so glory multiplication is taking place because of your obedience to what God called you to do.

My debt is paid in Christ because of his righteousness stepping in on my behalf. My debt is paid at Bethlehem College and Seminary because you chose to step in on my behalf.

Thank you. Thank you for being a tool of God, to do so much, with this single act. So to you, unknown stranger, I say, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance* upon you and give you peace.” Num 6:24-26

Jonathan, Paula, and family.

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