Have you ever had moments in your life when you can hear or feel God telling you to do something, but all you want to do is turn in the opposite direction and run as fast as you can?
Yeah, me too.
Most recently I experienced this feeling when we received news of our first placement with Athletes in Action.
We got the call about two weeks ago that the allocation team had placed us in Dayton, OH, where the team serves 7 college campuses. When I heard the news I immediately started crying (I mean, I am a girl…) and all I wanted to do was yell “NO!” But something strange happened.I had this weird, peace in my heart and could almost hear God’s audible voice telling me,
“Jenn, stop. That’s where I am sending you.
Don’t fight it. It’s my plan and it’s good.”
But inwardly I fought back. I remember sitting up in our room and yelling at God. “That’s not where I wanted to go! I’ve told You before, I DO NOT want to start over somewhere new!! Didn’t you hear me? Remember when I told you that I want to be in Indy or Philly near our family?!” (Like you can actually tell God what to do…)
Then I remembered Jonah from the Bible. God called him to go to the city of Nineveh to tell the people there that they were wicked and unless they turned from their wickedness, God would destroy them. (Luckily, God is calling us to do a slightly different mission than that…) But instead of saying “Ok God, sure thing!” and skipping along to Nineveh, Jonah got on a boat and fled in the opposite direction towards Tarshish. And for those of you who don’t know the story, it ends with a big storm, Jonah being voted off the ship and ending up being swallowed by a giant fish. Sounds like a blast, right? (In the Bible it actually says, “The Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah…” That doesn’t sound like the kind of provision I’d chose…but then again I’m not God, so there’s that.)
Well, luckily I didn’t allow my situation to get to “fish-status,” but it got me thinking about what happens when we don’t obey God. God wants what is best for us, and because of his omniscience, (being all-knowing) He knows what path would end up being best for us and for His glory. And in reality, the “huge fish” He brings into our path when we flee in the wrong direction really is his provision, so we can be saved from making more mistakes and going against the good and perfect will of God.
In my case, the “fish” He brought along didn’t swallow me, (thank goodness) instead they encouraged me. The new friends God brought into our lives at training, along with my amazing family, reminded me that sometimes we don’t always understand God’s ways, but we can always trust that He has our best interest in mind, and He can see things in the future that we have no clue about yet.
So, here we are about two weeks later, and I can be completely honest in telling you that I am now SUPER excited about our placement in Dayton. It may not have been my first choice at the time, but after talking to some other staff friends, and the director of the team, I can see so many reasons why God placed us there. And the peace that God gave me the day we received our placement is now even more full. I am so excited to see how God works through Stuart and me in our new community, and I can’t wait to meet our new staff team and teach the student athletes in Dayton about how much God loves them!
Soooooo…Dayton, here we come! (After we raise all our funds that is…)