So I’ll admit it: I was reluctant to come here. There are hints about this in my last few posts – how I tried to find a job in Phoenix because I wanted to keep working with the kids I’d just started getting to know. How I wanted a “real” job instead. But my reluctance was stronger than I led you, reader, to believe and I feel the need to apologize for misleading you. I wasn’t just nervous out of fear or a desire for comfort (though that was definitely a big part of it). I was actively praying for God to close the door so that I wouldn’t have to walk through it.
And, I suppose, in a way He did close the door. He closed every door I tried to pry open; reinforced every lock I tried to pick. He answered my prayers by closing every door except the one I wanted Him to close. So, finally, and with GREAT reluctance, I stepped over the threshold.
And I have discovered a greater expanse of opportunity than I could have ever imagined.
It’s only been a month (it baffles me to think that it has been that long!) and while I have, at times, found myself missing those in the desert, already I am seeing God at work across the Ranch. Just this last week two students (that I know of) professed a newfound faith in Christ and four others were baptized. I have seen character growth in kids who have been here for years as well as in those whose tenure is shorter than my own. Getting to know and spending time with the boys in the house has been a joy and I’m looking forward to many more months to grow together with them, the house parents, and my co-mentor.
But that’s just work. It’s miraculous. It’s amazing. But it’s only a part of this story.
One of my biggest concerns in coming to the Ranch was that I wouldn’t have any time to have a life outside of work. I think God laughed at me when I pulled out that excuse. And then He provided me with an opportunity which could have only come directly from Him.
A few weeks ago I was searching the internet for community choirs to join (because, as any musician can tell you, going any length of time – two full years in my case – without performing with an ensemble will give you withdrawals) without much success. Most rehearsed on weekday evenings when I was unavailable while others had recently held auditions for this year’s concert season. Then I came across one which rehearsed on Sunday afternoons in Knoxville for six weeks at a time, twice a year. They were about to begin rehearsals for their November concert. The only problem was I could find nothing about their audition procedures. There was no “contact us” button; no e-mail address to write to; only a newsletter request form and a “response form.”
I had no idea what this “response form” was for but it had a comments section so I decided to submit the form with my question about auditions, regardless of the actual purpose of the form (an atypical behavior for a reserved, detail-oriented person).
The director called me the next day wondering how I found the response form.
(Read that again if you can’t see God’s hand in this)
Apparently the response form is sent only to people who had been invited to join the group. The group which is invitation only, not auditioned as I had assumed.
I talked with the director for a few minutes. He asked me about my background in music. We discussed Asbury and my degree which – for the first time ever – served a purpose. He invited me to join the choir and I accepted on the spot.
I hung up the phone in shock. I had joined an invitation only choir – by asking – with a form I wasn’t supposed to be able to find.
You can call it a coincidence if you want. I’ll call it what it is: a miracle. It may seem small but I’ve been praying for exactly this kind of opportunity for two years now and I can’t just ignore God’s handiwork in this.
People pray for God’s help all the time. Then, more often than not, when He comes through they claim coincidence, tell God, “Never mind, I guess it all worked out on its own,” and move forward without giving God His due praise. This opportunity could expand and lead to more opportunities, spiraling upward into an amazing tale of God’s glory and sovereignty. But, more likely, it is an instance of God providing for His people by answering their petitions; providing me with the opportunity to lift my voice with more than 70 other people in praise to Him, just as He knows I love to do more than anything.
And I will praise Him for the little miracles (though, are they really ever little?) as I depend on His provision daily.
Grace and Peace