The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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Luke 14:33 (NIV)
“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
While at University studying Engineering I had to do a group practical assignment using a theodolite. My group had to start at one point, then using a tape measure for distance and the theodolite for bearings work our way around a building to the point where we started. Then we went back to the drawing room, and drew what we had measured. Just as in practice we had started and finished at the same point, so the idea was that our drawing should start and end at a point. We however were hopelessly out. Rather than do the work again, we decided to change the numbers a bit so that our drawing was not so bad. I felt bad about doing this, but confessed to God and believed that all was well.
Two years later, I was reading a book called “Honesty, Morality and Conscience”. I came to a chapter about cheating in studies and thought to myself “Of course, I would never do such a thing.” Then I remembered. Oh the conviction of God’s Spirit! It is amazing how he works and how he picks his timing and the points he wants to bring up. The author went on to say that he believed the right thing to do was to go and apologies to the lecturer concerned. To my mind, doing this would put my University career and as a result my working career in jeopardy. I would expect them to kick me out of the university for cheating. Even if they did not, but merely took away the grades for that course. The fact is I had not done well in that part, and with that practical changed from pass to fail, it could ultimately change that first year from pass to fail, the implications just seemed too great. I struggled with this issue for two months. I prayed and searched for peace but it was to no avail. I would lie on my bed through the night struggling against God. My Lord had got hold of me and he was not going to let go. I sensed that God had put a choice before me. Was it going to be him or my career. If I chose career then in that same choice I would be putting my relationship with him on the shelf, only to be picked up again by facing this issue. My problem career wise was that I could see no options if I was kicked out of university. I suffer from dispraxia - clumsiness, so my engineering knowledge would be no good as a technician for the clumsiness always made my work look messy. It seemed to me that without a degree, I was condemned to menial work, and I really struggled with that prsopect.
In the end I realised that the resolution to the issue came not in the here and now but in my final meeting with God. I had a choice before me now as to how Christ would receive me in glory. There were two possible ends. He could say: “You were a good engineer, designed many useful things, but it was a pity that you did not live for me.” Or he could say: ‘It is true that you did not have a good job but ... “Well done good and faithful servant, ... come and share in your masters happiness!”’ (Matthew 25:21 NIV) I desired the approval of Jesus on that day over the approval of men and the rewards of a career now. So, praying for mercy, I went to talk to the lecturer. I went in with a sense of foreboding, but to my surprise his response was merciful. He commented that he had made the same error as an undergraduate, that I should learn from my mistake and not repeat it. God had done it, he had saved me! I was so grateful to Him, I felt like I was walking on air.
As time has gone by, this decision has stayed with me. Later as I had to make other decisions I found that the key challenge had already been faced. A year or so later, in America I saw an opportunity to fly gliders, but I realised that I could not do that and be involved in an intense ministry such as with the Navigators Student Ministry. I really wanted to serve God and though there is nothing wrong with learning to fly, the choice of what was important had already been made. I deeply desired to live for God. I didn’t want anything to distract from that. “Let us throw off everything that hinders ... and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)