During my junior year of college, I had a plan. I’d spend January term overseas on a mission trip to avoid snow and a single class that lasted for hours each day. Never mind I didn’t feel God’s leading. Never mind I’d dreamed of the Literary London trip, a literature study tour of Great Britain that combined my love of travel and reading. I’d looked at the cost and decided it was impossible, but fund-raising would cover the mission trip cost. Besides, I figured God would rather I choose the more spiritual option. I applied, and a few months later it was official.
I was a mission trip reject.
After crying, pouting, and whining it wasn’t fair I’d be stuck on campus while my friends visited exotic locations, I finally asked God to show me his will.
Even though I thought it was out of the question, God made a way for me to go to London. For three and a half weeks I had a wonderful time sightseeing and studying literature. Most importantly, the lessons God taught me are relevant today.
First, my faith increased when I witnessed God’s financial provision for Literary London. A delayed scholarship check (due to my own procrastination) helped with the cost, and it arrived one day before I needed a deposit.
Second, though a mission trip is a noble endeavor, I realized my reason for applying was not to help others but to fulfill my own desires. Later, when I had the right motives, God allowed me to serve in Alaska during spring break.
Finally, I learned to seek God’s guidance in all areas of my life because his plan is always best. Often we have wishes that aren’t the will of God. But sometimes the deepest, most secret desires of our heart are God’s will for us – even when we don’t believe it’s possible. How often are we willing to settle for what we can arrange or what seems to be the more virtuous choice because we don’t believe God will come through? In this case I’m thankful God redirected me via rejection.
In conclusion, I challenge you to consider your deepest, most heartfelt desire. Is there a decision involved? Are you tempted to choose the option that appears more practical and spiritual? Ask God for wisdom. He promises to “give generously to all without finding fault” (James 1:5). Maybe you’ll discover your deepest desire is a dream God placed there, and he’s already made a provision for it to come true.
He’s just waiting for you to realize it.