Here we are, again.
That way you wanted to go isn’t exactly going the way you had planned or hoped for, is it? It’s all going to be fine, really. You just can’t see it now.
I don’t pretend to know all there is to the depth and breadth and heighth of God’s glorious plan for you, nor myself! I can say this with certainty though, sometimes you are sitting on the provision you thought God was failing to bring to fruition.
A Few Years Ago, On A Campus Far, Far Away…
I graduated from Texas A&M University, but my collegiate career started at the University of Arkansas. The story of that transfer is a different story for a different day, the only thing I want to you to know for now is this - my freshman year of college was the loneliest year of my life.
All of my friends at Arkansas joined fraternities, but I couldn’t. I guess I technically could have, and I almost did, but I knew myself well enough and felt God strongly enough to know it would be a poor decision. It’s not necessarily like that for everyone, but I knew I’d thrive in a fraternity for all the wrong reasons. I ended up sacrificing my social life on the altar of spiritual growth, which sounds heroic and overly spiritual, but I assure you it’s not. I was frustrated, and the loneliness was overwhelming.
At the University of Arkansas, the walk from the Maple Hill East Dormitory to Kimpel Hall is about 15 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can get there in just under 11 minutes, give or take one. I know this because I did it three times a week, every week, for an entire year. I also know Bon Iver’s album, For Emma, Forever Ago and Drake’s, Take Care, by heart because I had them on repeat each time I made the trek.
It was an emotionally exhausting walk. A broken record of prayer that consistently questioned God, asking Him the same questions with each step. Does He know what He is doing? Why am I alone? Is this really His plan for my life? To make this miserable walk of confusion and questioning each day began to take its toll. I need a place of rest, and I found it.
Crumbs Of Encouragement
I had two classes in Kimpel, Comp I and Public Speaking. I began to find favor with professors in both classes.
In my Comp I class we had to write a short essay on our favorite TV show, so I wrote mine on Chuck. My teacher emailed me after class and asked if I could visit him early the next day. I did, and he told me I was gifted. The following week I had my first speech in my Public Speaking class where the points taken off were for, “Being so relaxed it came across lackadaisical.” I asked my professor about that deduction, he told me if I weren’t so casual I’d be compelling.
I don’t tell you that to gloat, there is nothing to gloat about when you were ungrateful and spiritually blind. I tell you that because I didn’t care. I was alone and concerned that I spent more time with professors than friends. But God was beginning to answer prayers, I just didn’t understand. I didn’t see what He was weaving together.
As I walked and asked Him, “What is your plan? Why am I here? What am I doing?” He was using my professors to push me further down the path of His plan. Composition I and Public Speaking were teaching me about researching and orating, writing and preaching. I just didn’t see it like that, not yet. No encouragement could sway my sorrows, so I found my prayer spot. An unusual spot with supernatural specificity.
Outside of Kimpel Hall, on the other side North McIlroy Avenue is a Starbucks. I would leave Kimpel, go to Starbucks to drown my sorrows in cold brew, and head to my prayer spot.
About 200 yards south of Kimpel and Starbucks sits a building that is different than the other buildings on campus. It’s tucked away on the slope of a hill, in a nook surrounded by trees. Honestly, it looks like it belongs in London. It could pass as Number 4 Private Drive, I’m positive that’s where Hagrid dropped baby Harry off.
I liked that it was different and that it was just a short walk from class. I would go there to think and pray. I’d be frustrated and angry at God for hours and until I calmed down enough to just have a normal conversation with Him. I would sit on those steps with tears in my eyes and ask, “Lord, what is my purpose? What are you doing?”
A few weeks ago as I prepared a sermon on loneliness, I thought about this building that was my prayer spot (pictured above). The thought crossed my mind, I never saw cars or people there. An axe murderer could have lived there for all I knew.
Out of curiosity, I looked it up…
The building is a printing press, a publishing house. As I walked from my speaking and writing classes where I was being encouraged in those two specific fields, I would, unknowingly, sit at a publishing house and ask God what my purpose was outside of knowing Him and making Him known. Now I write and preach, and as I sat on the steps of a publishing house and questioned God about His plan and purpose for my life, I had no idea that He had brought me to pray on the steps of a place that was representative of how I would fulfill His purpose for my life.
My first book is being published with Zondervan and releases on November 12th, 2019. Don’t tell me God has no idea what He is doing.
Be encouraged. Beyond what we can see and beyond what we can know, God has a creative plan, one where we will struggle, but one where we will grow. Keep trusting. He’s working with the whole puzzle, we only see like four pieces. He’s moving. Believe that.
Keep up with Luke on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook: @lukelezon