Last week I spent what felt like an eternity driving to an array of Christian colleges, promoting the Alliance Theological Seminary and Nyack’s graduate programs. While the overarching purpose of the trip was to bring awareness of the wonderful institution Nyack is, to hundreds of college students seeking a good seminary; God had other plans. And so in the midst of work, of being focused on getting as much visibility for Nyack as possible, of talking to prospective students and telling them about all of the incredible things Nyack and ATS have to offer them; God interrupted time and time again, seeking to impart something deeper and lasting than information about a seminary. He sought to use me, as a vessel of honor, one who would display His light, love and goodness to His children.
This for me was completely new and unexpected. While in the past I have prayed with prospective students and shared encouraging words, this time was different. Monday I drove 7 hours to Houghton College, where for 2 hours I hosted a table and spoke to a good amount of students about our graduate and seminary programs. After about an hour of recruiting, I met Jennifer. She is an eager Junior who is seeking to further her education in Childhood Ed upon graduation. While she shared her dreams with me, I noticed her rubbing her back and neck, so I asked her if there was any pain. She replied “yes, I suffered from an injury and since, my back always hurts.” I asked her ” could I pray for you?”, her reply came immediately ” please”.
So I prayed, I prayed for healing for her back, but most importantly I prayed for the love of the Father to be poured upon her heart. For her to know how deeply God desires intimacy with her, and for the truth that the Holy Spirit is always with her. I spoke peace over her. The prayer was relatively short. As I finished praying, I noticed she was crying. As soon as I said “amen”, she said ” my back has never felt this good”. And it hit me. I drove there, that afternoon, not just to recruit for ATS, I drove there, because God loves Jennifer, and He wanted to use me, to have a deep encounter with her.
Fast forward to Tuesday night. Tuesday was a long day of driving to Springfield,Ohio, where I would be staying to go to Cedarville the following day. Thankfully the drive was interjected by an impromptu lunch with a C&MA pastor, which was lovely and grabbing a cup of coffee with a longtime friend. I was about 2 hours away from my destination, when I really had to go use the restroom and was starting to feel a bit hungry. Determined on finding an Applebee’s, upon seeing what I thought was a sign for Applebees, I got off I 90. But instead, somehow ended up at a Dennys. Being unable to continue to drive, because of how badly I had to go, I resigned and decided to go in. I used the restroom and reluctantly ordered a small meal.
As I sat and ate, I asked God ” Why am I here?” I heard him say “Stand up and ask the people here, if any of them want prayer.” Now that’s just weird. Who stands up in the middle of a restaurant and asks ”Hey does anyone need prayer?”. Okay so Dennys was relatively empty. But still… Anyway I decided to be obedient, stood up and asked. Instantly a waitress, walked up to me and said “Please pray for me, I am losing my home and I need to find a place to live that’s inexpensive for me and my children.” So I did pray. The time of prayer ended with a long hug and two teary eyed waitresses. She said to me: ”This happens all the time, people always come in here and ask me to pray.” It was clear to me, that God is after her. He longs to pour out His love for her. And He unbeknown to me, led me to a Dennys, when I really wanted an Applebees, to show her, how much He loves and cares about every aspect of her life.
My journey ended at Geneva College. Which perhaps was the most frustrating day on the road for me, out of them all. Mostly because after waking-up at an ungodly hour and driving 4 hours, hardly any students would talk to me. Until one lovely girl, approached the table and engaged me in conversation. After a few minutes, she asked if I was hungry, of course,I was! And she offered to bring me food. As she walked away to grab me a meal, I heard God say ” You’re here for her.” “Hmm interesting”, I thought.
She came back, sat down and we shared a meal together. During that time, we had a conversation that enabled her to open up about certain things, things that I was able to speak life and wisdom into; having been in those same shoes myself. At the end, I prayed for her, about her dreams and being able to dream like a little girl again. About having peace for her future and trusting that God, is a good God and WILL take care of her. She hugged me tightly and asked “Are you real? Are you an angel?” I laughed, “unfortunately I am NOT an angel…but God did bring me here for you today, because He loves you…”. I thought about the trip and everything that had occurred as I drove back on Friday, I realized
that we are vessels of honor:
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2: 21
God has chosen ALL of us, who have been called by HIS name, to do good works ( see Ephesians 2:10) that HE planned long ago. I am not some sort of rare breed. I am not any different from you. I did none of those things on my accord, I only did what my Father was doing ( sound familiar?). And you too, can and should do the same.
I recognize finally, that I don’t only represent Nyack and ATS, I represent GOD. My life, (education, job, relationships etc.), is a ministry and so is YOURS!
Let the God of the universe USE YOU to bring glory and honor to HIS name. Be obedient in the little things and watch how He will BLOW your mind.