BIBLE TEXT: But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished.” –John 5:17, 19-20
PERSONAL REFLECTION: Have you read Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry Blackaby? If you haven’t read it, you should read it…. like soon. It’s one of those classic Christian books. The author discusses principles that will lead a believer to discover God’s will. Some of these principles include (but are not limited to) the following:
-God is always at work around you.
-God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
-You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
Let me tell you how these principles have existed in my life lately. It’s a great story.
My “crisis of belief” began after God spoke through my husband two years ago and suggested that I return to college. My husband’s suggestion was God at work, but I dismissed it. Me? College? At 44 years of age? Are you kidding me? God kept bugging me about it by bringing it up through different situations. I argued with Him and informed Him of all of the reasons it would not work… especially financially. How can I go to college when our money is paying for our children’s college tuition? It’s interesting how money seems to be a huge obstacle in our culture yet we are some of the most richest people in the world.
After arguing with God about it for months, He put His foot down and clearly told me to return. I knew it was His voice, and even though I lacked confidence in my academic ability I enrolled at Volunteer State Community College.
My “crisis of belief” lasted a long time because I’m hard-headed, although you’ll be relieved to know I am currently making much progress overcoming that condition. I was very clear with the Lord, however, and told Him He would have to provide the money for tuition. This was His idea and all so it was only fair, don’t you think?
Where would the money come from I wondered. Some secret inheritance? No one in my family is rich. The lottery? But that would mean I’d have to spend money to play so… NOPE. I launched myself into intensive scholarship hunting and applied for the few I qualified for, all the while reminding the Lord that even though I was filling out the paperwork and writing out the long essays He would need to make it happen. To my amazement and excitement, two weeks before I was to start Volunteer State, I was awarded a scholarship and all I had to pay for was my books. YAHOO! I knew God was at work for sure!
After I graduated from Volunteer State I was accepted into Middle Tennessee State University, and I reminded God again of our agreement: I’ll continue with this thing as long as You pay the bill, God. I searched for scholarships at MTSU and found one that I qualified for. I went to the campus, met and shook hands with everyone I could find that had any influence on the decision of that scholarship, and explained why I needed the scholarship. It was a lot of work, but I smiled at God and said, “Lord, I did my part. Now it’s Your turn. Do Your thing.” Weeks and weeks went by and the answer, of course, came on the last day. I won the scholarship and my first year at MTSU was paid for!
I was still in need of money for my second year at MTSU, and I had my eye on a special government stipend program through the state of Tennessee for social work students. I had to wait until I was a junior to apply, but when the time came I submitted the application. Again, the chances of winning were slim. Many applicants from across the state applied, there was a lot of paperwork involved, a lengthy essay, and IF my application made it though round one I would be a finalist and go through a personal interview process… kind of like the Miss America pageant. No joke! To my amazement, I made it through round one and was asked to attend the interview.
I cannot tell you how nervous I was at that interview. I practiced professional-sounding answers I could give if they asked me any complicated questions. I researched how to look “polished” for the interview and what to say and not to say and prepared myself as best as I could. When I arrived at the interview and was told that a panel of six women would be interviewing me, however, I got nervous and immediately forgot every intelligent and impressive answer I had memorized. The panel began asking questions and I started talking like a parrot non-stop. The panel kept writing things down as I spoke, but I had no way of knowing if they were writing positive or negative comments. Later after the interview concluded I consoled myself by deciding that it was better to be a parrot than to stutter.
Well, they must have liked my parrot ways because the very next day I received an email that I had won the scholarship! The scholarship covers up to four semesters at MTSU including books. I have an internship placement and a job waiting for me after I graduate. Isn’t that amazing? I will never have to fill out another scholarship application for the rest of my bachelor’s degree! THANK YOU, LORD! (I hate writing those scholarship essays!)
PERSONAL APPLICATION: God is always at work around us. His plans for us will require a step of faith that is almost always preceded by a “crisis of belief.” To see His will unfold it will require that we make adjustments in our life to join in what He is doing. School has not been easy and believe me I’ve had to make many adjustments, but there is nothing–absolutely NOTHING– more satisfying and more fulfilling that to witness Him open doors so that I can join Him in what He is doing.
But what about YOU? On last week’s Day in the Life devotional, Darrell Crawford asked three empowering questions. What were your answers? Those answers may be the beginning of discovering what God is doing around you and how you can be involved in what He is doing. 2013 may end up being one of the most exciting years of your life if you decide to overcome your crisis of belief and adjust your life to what He is doing.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for the amazing plans you have for all of us. You make life exciting and I’m so thankful that I get to join in. What a privilege! What a joy! What an adventure!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After homeschooling her two children from Day One all the way through to high school graduation, Giovanna became a student at Middle Tennessee State University and is majoring in social work with a minor in family studies. She thinks she wants to work with the juvenile justice system after she graduates, but will ask God first and see what He thinks. When she is not reading textbooks she enjoys hiking and gardening. Giovanna and her husband Hubert will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this coming August.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax.