July 21, 2009
“Could we take another Chinese student?” Phyllis asked? “Let me talk with my wife about it,” I responded as my mind quickly scanned a mental check-list of reasons “for” and “against” it. Let's see... we just moved into our new home 3 weeks ago. Our living room is scattered with ladders, paint cans and tarps and furniture stacked up in the middle of the room. Both guest bedrooms look the same way. The basement is filled with tons of unopened boxes. The garage is a disaster. My mother is just emerging from brain cancer surgery and needs care. I've just returned from 6 days with my son at Olympic National Park. Oh, and by the way... I have a job. Remember? I put my cell phone down as I continued driving up to St. Cloud to visit my recuperating mother. "Hmmm. Can we take another student?" The prospects don't look good. The “we-can-do-everything” side of me was already making plans to host this other student while my weaker “wait-a-second-let’s-think-this-through” side of me was stepping on the brakes with both feet! As I prayed about it the next morning just after I had come up with six solid reasons that it would probably not work out at this time, I heard a clear voice say: “Ahhh, Steven? Does it really matter if the bedroom is not painted yet? Or if the living room has ladders and paint tarps scattered about? Or if there’s no room in the garage to walk? Or if there are no pictures up yet? " Okay, Okay.
Let me think... 1. We have two empty bedrooms in our home. 2. Two new graduate students from China need a place to land for several days after they fly in from China, begin to get settled, get registered, open bank accounts, get cell phones, find an apartment, prepare for classes at the U., etc. 3. You were hoping to put this big house to use for family and ministry. Hmmm. Tough decision.” “Well….?” I heard the voice say. “OK, we’ll do it,” I said. “When you put it like that, it’s a no-brainer.” And it is. My wife agreed. If my son or daughter was the visiting student in China, for example, I asked myself, “would I rather have them sleep on the street, or in an unpainted bedroom?” It’s a no-brainer. Right? I’m glad God speaks to me so clearly sometimes. I’m even more glad when my brain is sufficiently unclogged to actually “hear” God’s voice, and my heart is sufficiently motivated to be agreeable. Because whenever you hear and follow God’s voice, you get blessed. And we have been. Tons.