So. I would like to start off this article by asking you to not judge me. I am going to be completely transparent with you, so it is only natural that I would ask such a request. I am going to tell you a story about myself that I am not proud of, but it brings God glory so I am obliged to tell it.
At the beginning of Fall 2013, I was all signed up for my classes. I had my semester schedule and I was ready to go. The day before classes started I checked my email and realized that my art class had been cancelled. Now. Those of you who know me know that I do not handle sudden change very well. Being the researcher that I am, I immediately went onto the school website and searched for every class available that I could take to replace the cancelled art class. After many tedious mins. of searching, I finally came across the ONE class that fit into my schedule: Intro to Missions. I will just be honest. I wasn’t too terribly thrilled to have to take this class. Something about sitting in a class for 3 hours a week talking about the mission field and how to live a missional life, just wasn’t all that appeasing to me. I know. Appalling, right? I am a “great Godly girl.” There is no reason on earth why I shouldn’t want to take this class!! But nevertheless, I didn’t. Little did I know that taking this class was just a small part of the greater picture that God had for me.
Syllabus day came and went. Within the first two weeks of class my professor, Dr. Pruitt, had already talked to the class about 2 different mission trip opportunities with the school. One of the trips was to Pittsburgh I believe, and the other was to India. As he handed out the flyers about the trips, I didn’t even take one. That’s right. I didn’t take the flyers. I had made the decision in my mind that I wasn’t going to go. Without even asking God, you say? Without asking God. I didn’t want to go Pittsburgh or India. End of story.
If only it were the end of the story. 😉
A few more weeks went by. The Pittsburgh trip came and went. At the end of missions class one day, Dr. Pruitt asked me if he could speak with me for a moment. I saw no reason why not, so I agreed. Dr. Pruitt looked at me and asked me if I had been praying about the India trip. I was a little taken aback by this question, and I responded that I had only briefly thought about the idea. He then proceeded to tell me that God had placed me specifically on his heart, and that God told him to ask me to pray about going to India. Dr. Pruitt then told me that there was one female spot left available to go on the trip, so if I wanted to go I would have to sign up very soon.
Clearly, I was very surprised. I hadn’t even been considering going to India. I hadn’t been talking to my professor or friends about going, and I CERTAINLY hadn’t been talking to God about going. Why would I? I didn’t want to go, after all. I left class that day with the thought of India in the back of my mind. I told myself that I would pray about it later that day. I ended up praying, but not praying sincerely about it. I just kinda tossed up my prayer and told God that if He wanted me to go He would need to make it very very clear, because I wasn’t feelin it. I went along about life never choosing to think about it again.
The funny thing about God is that if He truly wants to get your attention about something- He will. And so the story continues. Over the next two months I tried my very best to avoid thinking about India. I didn’t talk to my friends about. I talked to absolutely no one about the possibility of going there. But for “some reason” (God) I could never escape it. I felt like India was all that people talked about these days! I remember sitting at a table with a friend that I hadn’t talked to in months and having him telling me out of the blue all about this movie he had watched about missionaries in India. I would go to my friends dorm rooms and they would bring up things about their own personal trips to India and how much they loved it. They would tell me about books I needed to read that were about missionaries in India. India, India, INDIA.
I still didn’t get the picture. I am too stubborn.
At this point in the story, about 2 months had passed since my first conversation with Dr. Pruitt. It was now time for Thanksgiving break. I went to the lake-house and had a great time. Not once did I think about India. On my way home, I programmed my schools address into my GPS. I started to follow the directions and for some reason (God) my GPS rerouted and took me a different way than it normally did. I decided to follow it, in case it was avoiding some bad traffic located somewhere else. About 35 mins into the drive, I started to get concerned that I might have been lost. I started looking around for city names or road signs so I could get an idea of where I was. In the distance, I saw a water tower and decide to look at what city/county I was in. As I stared up at this ginormous water tower, I saw the words clearly written on it: CURRY COUNTY. As I read it, I literally laughed inside. I hate curry. With a passion. Ironically enough, I had been joking around for years that I could NEVER go to India because everything there tastes and smells like curry. The people there literally live and breath curry. So.. as I read those words on the water tower, my thoughts instinctively went to India.
Now. I don’t want to make you all believe that I am one of those people who walks around all the time “looking for signs” from the Lord. I believe that His word, the bible, is the NUMBER 1 way that He reveals Himself to us. I do however believe wholeheartedly that He uses things/people in our lives to get our attention and make us think. This was one of those times.
When I got back to school, I decided it was time to tell 2 of my friends about everything that had been going on in my heart and mind for the past 2 months. I told them that I was going to truly pray and read the Word for 2 days about what I needed to do regarding the India trip. I still wasn’t too convinced that God really wanted me to go, but I was willing to consider it. 2 days was all that the Lord needed.
At my college, we have a concrete cross that stands at the top of the hill on campus. I had previously made it a habit of walking up there almost every night just to clear my head and talk to the Lord. I did the same thing for these two nights. The first night I remember talking to Him about India and crying because I didn’t know what He wanted for me. I boldly told the Lord that I wanted another sign. I asked Him to make it immensely obvious. The second night I walked up to the cross and I sat in silence at the foot of the cross for almost an hour. I was waiting on the Lord. I told Him that I wanted His peace and direction. As I was sitting there, I felt a light rain drop on my shoulder. I looked up into the night sky and it started raining harder. I sat in the rain until I couldn’t take the cold anymore. I decided to move to the nearest place for shelter- the library porch. I got to the library and sat down on the bench. I put my head down and just listened to the rain. As I was about to get up to leave, something in the moonlight caught my eye. I looked down on the ground right next to my bench and noticed something I had never seen before. Carved into the ground, plain as day, was the word: INDIA. I started crying and I knew what my answer was.
But that didn’t matter. I still wasn’t going to go. I had been rebelling for so long about this, that nothing was going to change my mind. The next day was the last day of my Intro to Missions class. Dr. Pruitt told everyone in the class that he had a surprise for us if we went to his office to pick it up. He and his wife has purchased Christmas coffee mugs for everyone! I took forever to pick out my mug and I was the last one in the office. I finally made my choice and I started to my way out of the office door. As my body reached the door, the Lord told me to at least ask Mrs. Uys, the Missions secretary, if there was a spot available on the trip. Surely there would be no spots left! The team was leaving in 3 months, and it was always a popular mission trip at our school. I turned around and slowly made my way to her desk. I meekly asked her if there was another female spot still on the trip. She got on her computer and checked. She looked up and smiled as she said, “Why, yes. There is one spot left.”
I was astonished. I told her that I felt like I was suppose to go on the trip. I was hesitant and added that I had no money to make the down payment. She quickly handed me all of the paper work and told me that we would deal with the money later once the papers were signed. I sat down and filled out the papers. As I stood to hand them to her, I heard Dr. Pruitt come out of his office. He stood in the doorway and grinned. “So you finally decided to go on the India trip?” I told him that I knew that God was wanting me to go. He looked at me and said, “Well that’s good, because a gentleman came into my office a few moments ago and anonymously paid $500 towards YOUR personal trip to India.” He laughingly added that it wasn’t him. I felt like a hammer had hit me. I sat down in the chair and started to cry uncontrollably. I had been fighting God for so long about going to India. This was yet another extension of His grace to my disobedience. I glanced up and saw Mrs. Uys. She was glowing as she said, “Abbey, if you wanted a sign- this was it.”
I knew she was right.
God is good and will provide for every need. Sometimes we just need to step out in faith and trust that He has it all under control, even when we don’t see the bigger picture. And by sometimes, I mean: ALL THE TIME.