I’ve been having a rough time this semester. Emotionally I have been pretty low lately and there are several reasons why, I think. One is I am having to spend so much time in the library studying for all of my Spanish that I very rarely see my friends. The other is that I am supposed to graduate in May.
I don’t regret double majoring in Spanish. I think it is a good decision and will open doors down the road. The thing is, I am a slow reader in English. When I have to switch over and read in Spanish it takes me hours to get through a page or two. Most of the time I have to study alone to get anything done. Other times I study with a friend and classmate who pushes me to work harder, but it is still too much time in the library.
I don’t mind spending time with my friends in the library, but I miss when I was able to hang out with more than one person there. And I really miss being able to hang out outside of the library. I fear I may lose some friends this semester because I am never around. I miss going to the park. I miss hanging out every night on the weekend. I miss those late night McDonald’s runs. I miss the occasional eating out. I miss movie nights. I miss sitting around the dinner table for an hour and a half.
Then there is the graduation thing. Most people look forward to graduation. They look forward to being done with school and getting started in the “real world.” But I see it a little differently. Don’t get me wrong, I am ready to be done with my studying, but I also see the positive side. I am off on the weekends. I get holidays. I make a lot of friends. And when I graduate I see what I am going to lose. I won’t be able to take classes with my friends anymore. I won’t see my friends very much because we will live in different places, eat in different places and generally be doing other things. Or worse, I will have to move off to find a job. There may not be any opportunities in Jonesboro.
Even if I do stay in Jonesboro to start out, a lot of my friends who are also graduating will move away. The friends who are still in school will eventually graduate and most of them will also move. Many of my friends I fear I will never see again because once they graduate they will probably be on the other side of the world in Africa, Asia, and Europe. I will miss them. I try to tell myself that thanks to technology we will stay in contact, but it doesn’t help. I know from experience that when we go separate ways we begin to lose contact, even with our closest friends. Thinking about not seeing my friends again hurts.
What hurts more is thinking about how many do not know Christ and who I won’t even get to see in heaven. I know the most important thing in the friendship is to share the gospel with them so that they might believe; and pray for them. I want to see them know Jesus.
We are all sinners. There is no one reading this that can say they are not a sinner. Just taking the ten commandments and what Jesus said, I don’t think I’ve kept a single one of them. I have borrowed and not returned (stolen); I have looked at a girl with lust (adultery); I have lied; I have hated (murder), and the list goes on. All it takes to be separated from God is one sin. He is the great, fair, judge. A just judge wouldn’t let someone off the hook when they used the excuse, “I only did it once.” They do the crime, they do the crime.
But God loves us. He wants us to be with him. None of us have done anything that is too bad for him to forgive, through Jesus. He sent him, he lived a perfect life. He was tempted just like any other human, and then sentenced to die on the cross. He died for OUR sins. After they took him of the cross he was in the grave for three days before he was raised from the dead. He conquered death. He died and he rose again! Through faith in Jesus, we too will be raised. We will have eternal life with God, which is good. Being separated from God would be torture enough, the other stuff of Hell I don’t even want to think about. But Jesus paid the price so we didn’t have to. The world needs to know this.
This morning, God showed me another reason why I felt the way I do. He is preparing me. I keep saying that I don’t know what I will do when I graduate. I say I would like to stay in Jonesboro to work for a while so that I can stay where I actually know people. I don’t want to leave and go somewhere I don’t know anyone. But I also have an opportunity to apply to go to Spain for a few years and help teach English, which is only available right after I graduate. I want to do this. Then there is graduate school, seminary and/or working somewhere outside of Jonesboro and maybe Arkansas. I don’t know what to do.
Well, this morning at church God spoke to my heart. Several missionaries from our church that had returned from the field shared their testimony about what God was doing. The first told us about spending two years in the Journeyman program. (I need to look into that a little more.) She was in France for those two years; sometimes there were teams, other times they tried to build relations with those in the area.
That is when God starting bringing some other scriptures to my mind. He reminded me of those who wanted to go back to bury their family member first to which Jesus responded, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” (Luke 9:60 NIV). He also reminded me of the man who wanted to say by to his family. “Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” When I gave him my life, I was giving him my entire life. My life is no longer my own. That means if he calls me to go to a far-off country where I don’t know anyone; I don’t know the culture; I don’t know the language—I am supposed to go. He will go with me. The question is not an if he sends me; it is a where will he send me.
I began studying Spanish so I could use it in missions. It opens up Spain, Central and South America as places I can communicate. But I am willing to go wherever. Through my time at ASU God has placed a lot of East-Asians in my life. We have become friends and I have had the opportunity to get the gospel in many of their hands. There are other opportunities I have missed. But God has really put them on my heart. I wonder if he is not only preparing me to leave all of the familiarity but maybe even calling me to China or Japan.
I will be honest: the thought of going to be a long-term missionary in China, a communist country, scares me. Japan scares me simply because of being a different culture and language. But should I start trying to learn those languages from friends right here at ASU? Which one? God definitely showed me that he is preparing me to leave my friends and my family this morning. I don’t know how. I don’t know where. But I want to do it, filled with joy. Life is a journey. Life is an adventure. It is a good thing that I am not supposed to be the pilot.
Please pray for me that God would ease the stress some and that I could enjoy the friendships while we are right here together. Pray that he would give me the opportunities (and that I would take the opportunities) to share the gospel with them. Please pray that God would tear down the walls in their hearts and that he would grow the seeds. Please pray for me, that God would show me exactly where he wants me to go, when, how and all of that good stuff.