Faculty Blog | God’s will: “You choose”
October 31st, 2013 | Dr. Debbie Johnson
In this month’s blog, we’re continuing the discussion of God’s will. Last time we talked about saying yes to God. Now I’d like to share something else I’ve learned about God’s will: Sometimes we must choose.
I learned this when I received an unexpected and unsolicited phone call from the psychology graduate committee at Bradley University in my hometown, offering me a full-time teaching assistantship scholarship to pursue my master’s in clinical psychology. I was stunned.
A year earlier, I had been obedient to God and accepted that youth pastor position, putting my dream of graduate school aside. I was committed to youth ministry. In fact, I was leaving the next day on a mission trip to Jamaica. What did God want me to do with this opportunity?
I knew I needed time to find out, so I asked the voice on the phone if I could give an answer when I returned two weeks later. She told me they needed my decision the day after we would return. I thought that would be enough time to hear from God.
And it was. I heard from God about everything — except what to do about graduate school. Nothing. Not a peep. No urgings. No direct words from evangelists. God was silent about this subject.
I prayed. I fasted. I asked others to pray for me. I looked in Scripture. I repented of everything I could think of that seemingly was blocking my hearing from God. I made pro and con lists. I got on the plane to go back home. One more night and then I must give my decision.
“Lord, I don’t understand why I’m not hearing You. I have this opportunity. It’s incredible, even more than what I’ve wanted and hoped for. The church says it will support me in this. Everything is paid for. And I get to teach undergraduate classes too – more contact with more young people! What do You want, Lord? I don’t want something that will lessen what You want. Building Your kingdom is most important. This opportunity will take time away. Is this graduate school offer a blessing or is this a hindrance?”
And finally, I received an answer — of sorts: “It can be either one. You will determine that. You choose.”
This stumped me. I was waiting for a definitive answer from God, and He was telling me I got to choose. God directs me from my heart and my head. I could choose graduate school and He would lead me each step. Or I could choose not and he would lead me still.
Hmmm … I chose graduate school!