The night I was first filled with the Spirit my thoughts frequently returned to the question of God’s will for my life. I had heard testimonies of people being called to preach when they were filled with the Spirit and so I kept looping back to question God if that was His will for my life. He didn’t answer. At seventeen, I really wanted to know God’s will for remainder of my life. That quest intensified as I entered Samford University in the fall of 1971, turning eighteen a few weeks later. I was a math and physics major, but my plans were to become an actuarial lawyer. During that first semester, I fasted and prayed often for an answer. In February I was still seeking for peace about my chosen vocation and I was trying to accept that God would direct my path with or without a clear answer to the long-term questions of life.
My room at Samford was in Crawford-Johnson Hall (later torn down to make room for Beason Divinity School). Crawford-Johnson was a “U” shaped, two story dorm with its own courtyard. The inside base of the “U” was covered with a portico which led to all of the hallways and rooms. One morning I was walking alone down the portico on my way to class (I wasn’t praying) when God spoke to me, “Transfer to Lee College and major in Christian education.” Again, this was not an audible voice; they were clear and specific words sounding inside my head. Continuing to walk, I responded, “Yes, Lord, but what is Christian education?” I knew it had something to do with the Sunday school and other church ministries, but I wasn’t certain what anyone did with a degree in it. [This event was almost exactly one year after I was filled with the Spirit.]
A few weeks later I was home in Jacksonville for spring break [My parents had moved back to Florida during the Thanksgiving break]. Our pastor, Bud Braddock – whom I had known since childhood, asked me if I would be willing to work for the church as Minister of Education during my summer break. I answered I would pray about it, that’s what you are suppose to say, but I knew instantly it was God’s way of confirming what he had said. I did work for the church that summer; that’s a different story.
I am thankful God speaks when He chooses and sometimes He confirms through people what He has said. I am also (but less) thankful God sometimes speaks through silence. In time I had to learn God sometimes (most often?) speaks by forcing us to choose a direction and then step out in faith that He will catch us if we fall. Through it all, He leads those whom He has chosen and He has chosen who-so-ever will follow Him. The call to go to Lee College was one of the most important interventions of my life. It set the stage for God’s vocational call and my greatest decision.
January 8, 2010