Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Found God in the Valedictorian...

Our local paper had a great article highlighting local valedictorians from the Class of 2000 and what they are doing now (10 years later). All of them had B I G aspirations: a surgeon, a researcher, a movie star, a psychiatrist. Many of them continued in the field they chose when they were just 18, but some found a different path altogether...

Consider the valedictorian of Ohio's New Richmond's Senior class of 2000, Ben Wilson: He started college aiming towards becoming an orthopedic surgeon... But mid-way through his freshman year, he discovered that God had a much different plan for him. Instead of leading him toward a fact-paced and high-paying profession, God put upon his heart the idea to become a minister. I can only imagine the comments he might have received from people - "You won't make any money doing that." ... "Can't you just help out your church on weekends and be a doctor during the week?" ... "You did all of that work in high school 'just' to be come a pastor?" Insulting comments...? Uncomprehending responses...? People who just didn't understand why he was forgoing a career as a D O C T O R where there was money and prestige and excitement...?

Regardless of whatever input he received from those around him, Ben became a Youth Pastor at a local church. His response to those who would question his decision not to become a doctor: "We could say that God kind of changed my life and was working there, but I discovered if I were to do this for the rest of my life, I would not be happy. Money wasn't going to make me happy."

The important thing about this story is that Ben LISTENED to God in his heart. He heard a message - radically different from his own life plan - and he LISTENED and OBEYED.

My friends Bess and Jason adopted a little girl from China a few years ago. It was nearly a 3-year adoption process. I love her testimony regarding the adoption: They already had twins and a younger son; their family could be complete. But God placed small "coincidences" all around them: Commercials about adoptions suddenly seemed louder. Their daughter brought home a book about a girl adopted from China from her school library (the kids had NO idea their parents were considering it). They met a couple at a conference who sat right behind them and shared their own adoption story... from China! The "coincidences" piled up, and Bess and Jason realized that God was audibly speaking to them - directing them to find their 4th child in China. The process was long and discouraging - China tightened up access to their orphans, and at least an extra year (and duplicate paperwork!) was tacked on to Bess & Jason's quest. But they were patient and stalwart... and God rewarded them. Their daughter, Josie, has completed their family. :)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

God has plans for each and every one of us - good plans... GREAT plans. Our job is to pay attention to His signs and obey. He "talks" to His children ALL of the time! It might be a small voice in the back of your head warning you "DON'T DO THAT!" or encouraging "YOU CAN DO THIS!" It might be in the form of specially-placed people in your life who open your eyes to a new path you hadn't considered. It could be a book, a show, a teacher - God's methods of reaching you are endless and creative. And while His ways might not make sense to you at the time, you can be sure He has your best interests at heart; you ARE one of his masterpieces, after all!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Valedictorians should be filled with knowledge... They aced their classes, absorbed all of the facts/dates/right answers... They scored the highest... Their GPA lead the curve. You should be able to say THEY HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS... THEY HAVE "THE" WISDOM.

But true WISDOM comes from God:

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
Proverbs 1:7 (Msg)

Learn about God. Listen to God.
Hear that little voice in the back of your head.
Open your mind to the "crazy" idea that might just be the best thing for you...

Because God's plans are far better and more "exciting" than anything you can imagine. ♥
Pin It! Share this article on Pinterest!


Tammy said...

How awesome, and I feel that you wrote this at a time when I needed to read it, and then in turn read it to my daughter, who is faced with a career changing decision today. It was a blessing to me, and to her. Thank you for "listening" to God. :o)

David said...

Very true and full of wisdom!

Frosty said...

Love this post! I stumbled upon your blog by accident...or divine intervention really. It amazes me how brave we must be sometimes to not only LISTEN to the Holy Spirit, but to ACT upon His words!

Thank you for this amazing post, I needed it today.


Aaron said...

This is so encouraging. I was in a similar situation myself - a little different to the American system but in New Zealand i left high school with great grades two years early to study at university - studying Law and i was doing well but God had different plans for me and so i withdrew from Law. God is amazing, this is a great post which i could really relate to, thankyou . Praise God, God Bless

Amy said...

I appreciate your PO very much the picture with the article. Continues to refuel!!

Tim, Lisa, Trenton, and Grant said...

That is great. Thank you.

Odie Langley said...

Hi Mags, thanks for sharing your stories that have touched my heart this morning. True if we slow down long enough to listen to God He will direct our paths and lead us where we need to be. Have a wonderful weekend and know you have a special blog. Keep up the good writing. Lots are stopping by mine to see our "baby".

Anonymous said...

Dear God...I need directions too... I hope you can help me. Jules