I believe this is a question we, as Christians, ask far too often. Why, God? Why me? Why is this happening? I grew up in the Catholic faith which consisted of attending mass with my family and Sunday school with my friends. I enjoyed learning about Jesus, but my faith was pushed by my family, so it took me some time to discover my love for Jesus on my own. It wasn’t until high school that I met some of my closest friends. Many of my friends attended youth group at a Christian church and they invited me one Sunday evening. I’m going to be honest: I first started attending youth group for the social aspect. I soon found myself asking those deep questions and really diving into this Christian lifestyle by being in a small group and attending summer camps. I loved high school. I played volleyball with my best friends, attended weekly church services, and grew closer to God every day.
Unfortunately, high school doesn’t last forever and it was time for me to take the next step. I started looking at colleges where I could play volleyball, study biology, and continue to grow in my faith. I chose to attend Quincy University in the fall of 2015 where I am currently studying Pre-Med/Biological Sciences and also playing volleyball. I was on top of the world. How could life get much better than receiving an academic and athletic scholarship? Life hit me hard. It hit me fast. I soon realized that college wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t surrounded by the positive friends and leaders I used to have. I told myself I needed to get plugged in somewhere.
One night, I decided I was going to attend a Bible study at the campus ministry house. I was so excited to go, I even left my dorm room extra early. I looked everywhere for the campus ministry house. At this point, I was already late, so I gave up looking and called my youth group leader back home with tears rolling down my face. I reached out to her because I needed help. I was frustrated and I needed somewhere to go. I expressed my feelings to her and as soon as I hung up the phone she googled “Christian Churches in Quincy, IL” and the first one she told me about was Madison Park Christian Church. Little did I know at this time that Madison Park would soon be my home.
The first thing I did was join a small group at my new church. In this study, we all picked a word for the year that we were going to focus on, and my word was patience. I felt like this was the perfect word for me considering how miserable I was at the time. Jesus told his disciples “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7) This was a verse I really focused on because I was lost as to why God placed me at Quincy University, but I decided every day to have patience and trust in the Lord.
Fast-forward to my sophomore year. I was ready to leave, to go back home; I wanted to do anything but be where I was. I even had a talk with my volleyball graduate assistant coach at the end of the year and told her I was probably going to transfer. I thought I was in the driver’s seat of my life, but God quickly showed me that He wanted me to stay at QU. The following year I came back with a new coach, new friends, and a hope for the remaining time I had left at school. At my church, I now volunteer in early childhood, I am a high school sponsor, and attend weekly services with some of my closest friends.
God does have a plan. I know it’s hard to believe that sometimes, but He truly does. Isaiah 43:2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (emphasis mine) I love this verse because it does not say if you face hard times, because you will face trials in your life; but He will be right by your side. You are not alone. God is cares deeply about you and He has a plan for you. Trust Him and be patient.
Lauren is a college student studying Pre-Med while playing volleyball whose dream is to become a Physician’s Assistant. She enjoys being outside, working out, spending time with friends/family, and learning more about the Lord. For more on patience, you may enjoy our Jonah: Lessons in Patience Bible study. You can also listen to our Bible studies by tuning in to your favorite radio station, listening to our podcast on iTunes, or listening through TuneIn or Stitcher online radio.