At eighteen I was a senior in high school, I had knowledge of God but not relationship with HIm. Every night I would tell God facts of the gospel message as a prayer. At that time, my plan was to come to Las Vegas for college because that was cool; UNLV had just won the basketball title. One night during that dispassionate prayer, the thought came: “you need to go to Missouri.”
Missouri was my other choice, and my cousin was running campus crusade there. I knew it was God’s calling. I had never experienced it before, but I knew. I asked God: “Would You have me change everything?” The answer was yes. I remember it clearly, yet I don’t remember giving God’s call a second thought the next morning! That was 1992. It wasn’t until 1997 when I found the relationship part of a walk with God!
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
God’s leading hand still comes into my life in His timing and His way, but I find my initial response is often the same! As if God is asking me to walk in the sand. It’s soft sand that is hard to walk in. I want to say: “Why would I walk through the soft deep sand? It’s the harder way.” Often I can’t see the end of the sand either! It feels like everybody else is on the paved road, having an easier time and able to walk more comfortably. It feels irrational to take the harder road! What can possibly be at the end of this sand? This isn’t a way I would have charted for myself, yet to the best of my understanding it is the way that will please God!
“But as it is written: eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Genesis 13 comes to mind. Abraham and Lot's shepherds fighting so Abraham tells Lot to pick the land he would like to live because there was no longer room for them to live together. Lot picks the land that looked well watered and lush. That left Abraham with sand, the harder ground. In that place of hard, quiet, desolate place of infertility was the promised land!
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalms 27:13).