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picture of a woman in praise

Photo Copyright 2005 Anissa Thompson http://www.sxc.hu/profile/anissat

“Lord,” I cried out the other day while driving to school, “it is so hard being a human!”

Like many of my cohorts at the university, I will graduating soon. My classmates and I in the math department are trying to choose the path we will take after graduation. Some of us will look for jobs. Others, like myself, will go on to graduate school. In math, the next big question after undergraduate studies is to choose a topic to study in graduate school, and to choose whether that topic will be in applied or pure mathematics. A friend of mine and I have been discussing lately our frustrations over making that decision. We are both Christian, and have talked about the importance of waiting on God to open the right doors at the right time.

I have to admit, it is hard to wait sometimes.

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently. – Romans 8:25

“Lord,” I cried out, “if I only had some idea of what you need me to do for you, I wouldn’t have to worry all the time about making the best decision.”

My life has unfolded in the past few years in ways that I never would have foreseen. Since I begged for Jesus to dwell in me and guide my life, I have become a writer, a teacher, and an eager student of both mathematics and theology. I opened up my life to be a vessel for God’s needs, and every day I find a new reason to be thankful for His amazing will. So, why can’t I believe that He will continue to guide me rightly? Why must I constantly fuss and fight to know His direction? I know in my heart that when I call to Him, He hears and answers. And I’m okay with the answer that says, “wait – I have something better in mind.” Really, I am.

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:14-15

Recently, though, God gave me a special gift that I just cannot keep to myself. He answered a prayer immediately, with such a certainty that I was astounded.

As the day grew near to register for my last semester of undergraduate studies, I was in a quandary of what courses to take. I had two choices of applied math and two choices of pure math, but no idea yet of whether I was turning out to be an applied mathematician or a pure mathematician. The difference between the two is great, and the choice I would make for my last semester could either leave me well-prepared for graduate school, or in the position of having studied the wrong thing for the path I end up taking.

I took counsel from everyone I trusted: parents, brother, boyfriend, professors, mentors. But, still, I felt uneasy about my choices. Finally, I took it to God. I made the decision to give up control, and to let God decide. The immediate problem was that I needed to know what to take next semester. The long-range problem was that I needed to know what kind of mathematician I would be, and moreover, what topic I would study.

But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! John 15:7

“Lord,” I prayed, “please just give me a sign for which course I should take.”

I felt that I knew how this works; I would pray, and about 2 minutes before the deadline to click “submit” on my registration, I would get a small epiphany, and three months later I would look back and realize that God was in control all along. So, I put it all in God’s hands, and prayed.

Moments later though, I found myself entering a couple of words into a search bar on my computer. The first entry returned was a scholarly article published in a mathematics journal that gave me more that I could have hoped for. I scanned the paper and realized that, although my math was not yet strong enough to understand it fully, I had the answer I needed and much more. Not only did I know now what courses to take next semester, but I had the topic that might very well will take me through to my Ph.D. dissertation.

I am in awe at the power of answered prayer.

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help – Psalm 86:5

Indeed, God is so Good!

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