George McDonald once said, “Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.” This summer I had the opportunity to tour across the Northwest with my band, ER. This was our 4th summer on the road and we went into it more excited than little kids on the night before Christmas. In our minds this tour was going to be the “best thing ever!”, and it was, even though it looked quite a bit different than how we thought it would. Over the course of 3 months we played at 7 summer camps, a juvenile corrections facility, festivals, youth groups, parks, and a circus tent. Among the adventures that I don’t have time to tell here are: the time we blew a tire on our trailer going down I-5, the morning we hit the hay at 2am after tearing down from a show and then hit the road at 4am to get to another show, the night an autistic boy gave me a silver dollar, and the show that I got to crowd surf at. It seems like we had a million and a half adventures but the greatest adventure for me was falling in love with my Creator all over again.
Going into this tour I felt like God wanted to teach me more about trust. Two weeks before we headed out on the tour we had $24 in our bank account; which is about enough money to get us from Eugene to Springfield in our gas guzzling 15 passenger van. We had spent all of our resources getting ready for the tour and did not have enough money to get from our base in Central Oregon to our first gig in Lovelock, Nevada. As a band we do not charge money for our shows and we give our music away for free. The reason we do this is so that we can have the freedom to go and minister to anyone God calls us to. This year was the first tour that we had fully switched over to the system of not charging money and God provided abundantly every step of the way. Before the show in Nevada I was tempted to cancel the date because I didn’t know how we were going to get there. After we sent out letters to our support network we had over $2400 come in over the course of the summer to help offset the cost of gas! Gas money for our first show in Nevada came in as we stepped out and made plans to go, whether or not we saw the resources right away.
When we played the show in Nevada God showed up in some really cool ways. While we were there we had the chance to lead worship at a small church in Lovelock. The people there worshipped God with such genuine hearts! Many of the people in the service had addictions, family issues, or financial problems that they wore on their sleeves but at the same time their love for Jesus was written all over their faces; and that was refreshing. While we were there I had several deep conversations with young men who had lost loved ones and couldn’t believe in a loving God. None of those things would have happened if we hadn’t chosen to be obedient. That is the big things that I learned this summer; to trust God.
At the beginning of this summer I felt distant from God. I was so caught in my own plans for the tour, school stuff, and even plans for ministry that I had lost sight of Christ. This summer God broke my heart in hundred different ways. He showed what it means to love people who I would normally judge, how to push through exhaustion to give my best, and how to obey His voice even when it doesn’t make sense to me. I have seen the church be the bride of Christ she was meant to be and I have watched God move through His people in ways that blow my mind. I have also discovered that obedience is better than sacrifice. Most importantly, I have fallen in love with my Savior all over again. In closing out this blog I want to leave you with a dare; a dare to ask God to show you the world through His eyes. I dare you to seek out “the best”.
“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.” -George MacDonald
Preston Carmack – NCU Student