Last Sunday, I had the privilege of teaching in Kids.Christ. The kids have been studying Joshua. My lesson was on trusting and obeying God. We talked about how bizarre the directions to march around Jericho once a day for 6 days in total silence must’ve been – all dressed up in their military gear, but no fighting whatsoever.

On the 7th day, they marched around the city 7 times and after the 7th time, the priests were to blow on their trumpets and the people were to shout and the walls would just fall down. Strangest military plan ever! But those were God’s instructions to his people and they obeyed.   I asked the kids why they thought God would give the Israelites such a strange set of commands.   One boy answered,

“Because God wanted to see if they would obey him!”

Bingo! Sometimes God asks us to do something that sounds strange or even impossible because he is testing our faith – seeing if we are truly willing to walk with him wherever he leads. This is for our sake, not his. He knows ahead of time the path we will take, but each time we trust and obey our faith is strengthened. We talked about how it’s easy to say we trust God, but obeying is another matter. And it is only by obeying that we show we truly trust. Trust without obedience is not really trust.

I shared with the kids how in my 3rd year of college, God began to speak to me about changing my major again (I am quite sure I held the record for the most major changes at Mt. Vernon Naz.). He was placing education on my heart. I was in the middle of my Junior year – 1 ½ years away from graduation and contemplating starting over! I had friends who had been education majors since day 1 and were looking at 4 ½ years. How could I possibly do this and how could my parents afford it? I spent quite a bit of time in prayer over this and I could not shake the feeling that this is what I was supposed to do. So I finally submitted and told God if my parents didn’t disown me and the dean didn’t laugh me out the door, I would do it.

Amazingly, my parents were very supportive and the day I went to talk to the dean to get wheels in motion, everything quickly fell into place. No one told me I was crazy. They worked with me to see how to get through this the quickest, most effective way possible. I ended up going only 1 year over. I was able to test out of some classes and do others through correspondence. God helped me get through each hurdle and I found I enjoyed each level even though I practically flew through it. After graduating, I put my resume in at 22 school districts in the Cincinnati area – planning to live at home for a while to save some money. I had only 1 interview that summer for a terrible job I didn’t even want. I was frustrated and discouraged.

The day I came home from the horrible interview, I had a call from a college friend. She told me there was an opening at the school she had been hired at and thought I should apply for it. It was a 2nd grade opening – the same grade level I had student taught. The only catch – it was Colonel Crawford School District, 3 hours away and would require a complete move. I figured I had nothing to lose and told my friend I was interested. I received a call from Ruth Ann Noblet the next day asking if I could come up for an interview that week. I came up, interviewed and took a tour of Whetstone Elementary School. I fell in love! The next day, I was offered the job. What a whirlwind! But the most amazing thing to me now – as I shared with those kids on Sunday – had I not been obedient to God’s leading in college and changed my major when I did, I would not have been in the place to make a move to Crawford County. I would not have come to Bucyrus Nazarene Church and I would not have met my husband there. I would not have the life I have now. God has lead and directed my life each step of the way. I have not always been obedient, but he has given much grace even in those times.

I love looking back and seeing how it all makes sense now. Just think, some day we will be able to see all of life from creation to eternity and it will all make sense. We will be in awe of God’s power and his patience. We will be humbled by all of the times we “missed it” and He still showed us love and understanding. We will see how God used all of our mistakes and troubles in ways we could not fathom possible. He sees the end from the beginning and He is in the process of “working all things for good” (Romans 8:28). If you’re stuck in the midst of a mess you can’t imagine getting out of, cry out to a God who loves you and already sees you on the other end of the thing (Philippians 1:6). If you’re at a crossroads and not sure which way to take, seek the loving hand of your Heavenly Father who tells us to ask for wisdom and he will gladly give it! (James 1:5) Sometimes we don’t want to hear what he has to say because it is a hard word. But it is always right. Don’t be discouraged. He has enough grace for today (2 Corinithians 12:9) – and for tomorrow if it comes!

~Tara Hensel