It’s been a while. A long while. And during that long while, I have changed. I am no longer a college student at Cedarville University. …
This is a story.
A long story.
A story that began a while ago, but is far from completion.
This is but a short chapter that began in the fall of 2011. As a senior at Cedarville University, the time had come to begin planning what I was going to do after graduation; if not to put my own mind to ease, I needed to at least come up with an answer for the questions I heard every day.
“The world is mine” I kept thinking. “When I walk across the stage, receive the most expensive and hard earned piece of paper I will ever touch, the world is mine.” My thoughts weren’t self-centered as much as they were my attempts to process everything. Graduating with no girl at my side, no commitments… nothing holding me to any certain location, the world is, in a way, mine for the taking. Isn’t that what we’ve always been told?
If we work hard enough, we can have whatever we want to have? We can do whatever we want to do? What if I want to do God’s work? What if that truly is, at this point in my life, my only driving desire? What do I do? I checked at Career Services and they didn’t have a box for me to check to find “God’s work.”
As you can probably sense, I have a lot of ideas swimming inside of my head right now, with no direction on how to implement them or even process them. This has been the story of my senior year, but I digress. In the midst of this cognitive chaos, God moved.
My housemate, Nick Clason, is a student ministry director at Northside Baptist Church in Lebanon, OH. In January 2011, he recruited me to help out with the ministry, known as Encounter. In the fall, he taught a series called “DO SOMETHING HARD.” In this series of messages, he challenged our students to do something uncomfortable for the Kingdom. For many of our students, this involved inviting their friends to come in order to tell them about Jesus. For me, even as a leader challenging the students to evangelize, God was working in another way. What was the hard thing I did? I got a passport.
Throughout this year, with all of this stuff on my mind, God has revealed to me through at least ten different sources this little piece of wisdom: “You want to do God’s work? Find where God is working, and go there.” I was hearing, seeing, reading this idea everywhere. Here I am in my prayer time begging God to show me the way! “What do I do with my life? How do I serve you?” I must find where God is working and hop on board. It was about this same time that God gave me the idea to go to Brazil. My sister and I began talking about our mutual desire to go to Brazil during this summer to serve together, almost as a last hoorah before I move away to my new job (wherever it may be). Nick gave his message and I felt the Spirit confirm this idea to go to Brazil. I need to do something hard. I need to do something where, unless God steps in, it will fail. I need to do something that requires faith. I need to get a passport for my trip to Brazil. That hasn’t been planned. That has no financial support.
God has a way of providing that I can’t explain. Alicia and my plan to go to Brazil had a lot of holes in it. It wasn’t going to work. When we brought it up to my parents, they reminded us that we were in school. We didn’t have jobs. Also, we didn’t have money. We both realized that it couldn’t have worked. But God provides.
My next time home, Cathy Martin, one of the coolest, kindest, God-fearing women I know, came up to me and said, “So, I hear you’re thinking about going to Brazil. A few girls and I have been feeling like we need to go back.”
Boom. God showed up.
This is but the introduction of my trip to Brazil, but I hope that you found joy in my story of God’s provision, encouragement in that God can still use you even in the midst of “cognitive chaos”, and wisdom in the fact that God is working all around you. If you want to do God’s work, look around and find where He is working, and hop on board.
I appreciate your prayers and hope you will continue to read about my story into Brazil.
I am Craig McLeod and this is my
Life Made Digital.