Early one Friday morning over five years ago, our Company Secretary came to see me. ‘David, we have a problem,’ he said. ‘Our cashflow is bad. We need half a million pounds.’
When you are responsible for a large organisation, this is never good news to hear. Coming from a commercial background, I knew it was quite common to operate a business out of an overdraft, but I did not feel this was the answer for UCB. I did not know what the solution was, but firstly, I knew that we needed to pray.
When facing unexpected news, it is easy to get caught up in meetings and discussions, but at that moment, I wanted to be alone so that I could ask God for His answer. I took out my Bible and felt God prompt me to read Jeremiah 17. My eyes fell initially to Jeremiah 17:7-8.
‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’
As I read this, I felt encouraged especially that we were to ‘have no worries in a year of drought’, but in my heart, I still didn’t feel fully peaceful. I felt God prompt me to read Jeremiah 17 again, but this time I needed to read the whole chapter. I have to admit that verses 4 to 6 shocked me – they were curses about goods being plundered and lives being destroyed!
I remember praying: ‘God, ‘I do not understand. First you gave us a promise and a blessing and now I am reading about a curse? What are you saying to us?’
However, as I read it again, Jeremiah 17, verse 6 suddenly came alive to me;
This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.’
I felt this was our answer! I knew I had a decision to make. Where should we take our strength from? Should we rely on an overdraft which came from ‘mere flesh’, or could we find the courage to trust God, believe His promise, and see what He would do?
I gathered all the UCB staff together for a time of prayer. I remember we stood in a circle in our Hanchurch building, all holding hands, and we prayed and asked God for a miracle. I told the team that I believed God wanted us to trust Him. I later wrote to our Board of Trustees and asked if they would support us in this decision, and they all agreed. Those were difficult months, but we believed God had given us a clear promise from His Word – His divine instruction manual.
That was at Easter time, and we had to wait until nearly October before we began to see the financial breakthrough in our circumstances. However, we did not ever need to use that overdraft, and we give God all the glory for seeing UCB through a very difficult time.
There have been many other challenging times since then, but prayer remains an essential everyday part of what we do. I do not believe we can function properly as a ministry unless we purposefully choose to spend time in God’s presence. It’s in His presence that (combined with His Word) we can find answers to the problems that we all face. In God’s presence, we are able to talk openly and honestly with our Father. We can tell Him our problems, our fears and frustrations. It’s in that place that we can truly find our peace.
We continue to believe that God is the God of the impossible and He will never let us down.