Updated: Jun 28, 2022
I'd been here before, and I'm sure I'll be here again. Yesterday was one of those days where I remembered how to pray.
You know what I mean- the days where everything is stress and chaos and you are begging God to help you through it somehow. One of those days.
I started my day so overwhelmed that it was difficult for me to even sit still and eat a quick breakfast when I woke up (which I enjoy on a Saturday, as weekdays are often too full for breakfast lately.)
I made myself sit down and read Psalm 9 that morning; I remember waking up and feeling the need for that chapter. So I took a few deep breaths and started reading.
I immediately afterward got going on homework- I discovered I missed a short, easy assignment from the day before. I was exhausted in every way when I got back to my apartment on Friday, and everything (productivity-wise) was pretty much lost for the rest of that evening. I'd managed to do a little formatting for an upcoming paper, but nothing else. So I worked steadily on Saturday to get caught up on missing assignments and to work towards upcoming due dates. I have a ten page paper due on Monday, an exam coming up, and lots and lots of smaller (but time consuming) assignments due at midnight tonight. One of those weekends.
Saturday afternoon, I attended a wedding. I dearly love weddings. I only cried a little. I fully expected it to be long and myself to be tired before I got back- I was entirely correct. But it was so worth it! I don't miss a wedding if I can help it.
My usual ride to church had let me know last minute that they had plans serving elsewhere for the weekend. This was tough, since I am currently car-less. If you want to truly live on the wild side in college, try serving at a church out of town when you have no wheels
I had been texting all the friends, asking if someone was available since the moment I found out. "Are you free and willing... will pay for gas... will buy lunch." I figured it would work out quicker this time since seemingly everyone went home last weekend for various reasons, and next weekend people would go home for Easter to be with family. Surely, no one above a freshman goes home every weekend. I was incorrect for the month of April, it seems.
Scrambling. That is all I did when I got back from the wedding. Lots of scrambling for transportation. I meant to only scramble a little and then do homework- but nope. I spent hours calling everyone I could think of. My music major pals work in churches too, so that wouldn't work. Nor ministry majors or those who serve in their church's childcare. Several people had gone home or were out of town. Others were looking forward to their church's Palm Sunday service, and said they would if it were a different Sunday. Some said they could not, but would ask all of their friends. Everyone was so sweet and gracious, but not a soul available. I was ever so ready to ride to church with a stranger at that point. College is made for adventuring, anyways! In all of the friend circles and friend of friend's circles, no athlete, no business major, no roommate's teammate, no one could take their local Annika to church.
I was stressed and pressed for time. It was getting later, and I had already spent hours calling people. My mom started talking about driving in from out of state. I told her no. "Mama, God is going to work it out, it's just very stressful now. But I don't want you driving all night just to take me to church, gas is so expensive and you would be exhausted. I'd rather walk." It is roughly a 40 minute drive from my place to the church- so either my mom would have to start driving to East Texas right then, I needed to start walking right then, or God was going to have to work something out- and quick.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14
I think God allows days like this every now and then to remind us that we are but human. I recall now what I read in Psalm 9 on Saturday morning.
Different context, for sure- I encourage you to read the chapter for yourself! But something that stuck out to me that I needed that day is that the Psalm started with praise and ended with a plea. Many of the Psalms are this way- they honor God for who he is and then present their requests. This is something I have been talking about with some of my friends lately- the need for beginning with gratitude. Not just after an issue is resolved. Not just on the nice sunny days. Every day. I know when I choose to begin with gratefulness, I have more trust that God is able to work things out. Being grateful reminds me of when I have been in a situation like this before- and God brought me through, one way or the other. Gratefulness leads to peace.
The way Psalm 9 concludes got me most of all that day. Talking about the psalmist's enemies (again, different context than my own! But solid truth)-
Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah. Psalm 9:20
But men. It was exactly what I needed to hear- that I am but human, but God is yet sovereign and all-powerful. In my case, this humbled me to trust that he is bigger than my every effort, mightier than every "no" I'd received that evening. So, yes, I was stressed- but still, I just knew God would work it out. It was just a matter of his time and his way. I kept making calls.
* * *
It wasn't all worked out until around 11, and by then I needed to get ready for church. Guitar- check. Music- in order. Bible- packed. Preamp... oh yeah, left that at the church. It was kind of a complicated arrangement, but I could not complain... I had transportation! Two of my boys from my chapel band stepped up to help me. They are like brothers to me- another answer to prayer from a year ago when my "best boys" were all graduating. I was so worried back then that all of my guy friends were graduating and that I would have no "brothers" on campus. Again, the Lord provided.
Anyways! One got up early to drop me off at my church before he went to visit a different church, and the other one said he would come pick me up on the way back from his home church. Only problem was- he would not be able to pick me up until 4 or so.
I asked the pastor this morning if I could stay at their house and work on homework until my friend came to get me. He said sure, and that his wife was making lunch. Service went on (it was SO fun!) and my friend texted that he would be there earlier than 4 after all. My worship pastor thought about my situation and realized it would be more out of the way to go to the pastor's house, so he invited me to join his family for lunch in the meantime. My friend could pick me up from there. They treated me to the most amazing Italian I think I've ever had. My friend let me know that got delayed an hour, and long story short, my worship pastor ended up taking me home. "By the time your friend gets here, I could take you back to college and be back home... let me just help you out."
We talked as we headed back to campus and took turns with the aux cable, sharing new songs and making plans for an upcoming worship night. It ended up being a HUGE blessing to get to ride with my worship leader, because we got to simply talk ministry and music, which has been a challenge to find the time for leading up to Holy Week.
* * *
I am just moved to think about how God worked it all out, quite literally, in the eleventh hour. How it not only worked out, but was a huge blessing to talk with two different people on the way to and from church. Several friends texted me to make sure I got it all worked out. "The Lord's a provider," I responded. "Yes, he is!" They'd text back.
And so I am reminded today yet again, that God hears and answers prayers. The big ones that take patience and endurance. The little ones that seem insignificant. The ones you don't even have the words to say. In his way and time, God works all things together.