A round-the-world research trip is teaching me the power of God’s provision.
This past May, when I set out on a year-long trip to research singleness around the world, I was confident that I could keep financial disaster and worry at bay. I had modest savings, plans to keep my expenses lean, and hopes of finding freelance work to offset costs. I thought I wouldn’t need to ask that much of God. I thought I could trust him without really having to trust him. I thought I could follow him without leaving the boat.
But I didn’t reckon on the full train that stranded me in pricey Vienna one night or expensive rates for translation services. And I certainly didn’t expect the visa debacle in Ghana that cost me four missed, non-refundable flights—all without a visit or even one interview to show for it.
This trip wasn’t the first time I’d taken risks. I moved to New York City 16 years ago without a job, and four years later I did the same thing en route to California’s equally high-cost Bay Area. But I made both of those decisions with caution and did so in my 20s, a time when it seemed more permissible to ask big, even reckless, things of God.
On the verge of my 40th birthday, however, working without a strong and expansive security net seemed far more irresponsible. Shouldn’t a grown-up, mature Christian woman keep her needs low and ask God for as little as possible?
Throughout my 30s, I thought of God’s provision as something he largely imparted in the form of occasional gifts, like the job where I worked for a decade or the house where I lived for six years. Under this stability “contract,” God provided initial security and then I made it last as long as possible.
All that seemed pretty virtuous until a dinner conversation last year, when a …
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