Summer in the Sea, By Crystal Napier
As my sophomore year at Urshan College came to an end, believe it or not, I was not ready for summer to begin. The morning I packed to leave was dreadful.
Throughout the school year, God had been working in me. As he moved me and removed things, relationships and people, I was often unhappy, uncomfortable and confused.
For the first time, I didn’t want to be obedient. I thought I had given the Lord the reigns, but as God removed some of the most precious and loved parts of my life, I have learned that if I am really going to serve God, God must be in charge of all. God gives and takes away.
I’ve been on summer break for over three weeks now. Each day has had its ups and downs. I’ve prayed a lot. I’ve cried a lot. In the wrestling match between my faith and my questions, my flesh has fought for my wants, my goals and my plans.
I realize now where I went wrong. Self-focus had blinded me. God had placed me on a path, but I had to let God direct me, even if I didn’t like where I was being taken at the time. Knowing Jesus more – that’s what God wants from me. God is looking for so much more than me completing the checklist I’ve made to act on my calling in the way I think I should.
I can almost hear God say, “Crystal, just live your life. Get to know Me. You have a calling. Always be ready to be used, and I will use you. I will send you in My timing, not yours. When you sacrifice for Me, the rewards I can give you will be greater than your own desires and far beyond what you may be expecting.”
I’ve been thinking lately of Jonah and the time he spent in the fish’s belly. God was teaching Jonah through a very uncomfortable experience. I’ve been encouraged by the thought that Jonah’s most challenging three days were also his most revealing.
That’s how I see my next three months: full of trials and challenges, but already I have seen and felt the growth, the joy and new perspectives in ministry to serve people, to love them and to encourage them. I’m beginning to hear God’s voice more clearly. I’m acting on what I know I need to do.
God isn’t picking me up from the bottom of life and putting me on top, but yet through these changes, God is taking me on a journey. The great thing is that I have God to help me along the way, and I know the lessons I learn now will be used to prepare me to minister to others in the years to come.
God knows the plans He has for us. In the hardest of times, when we call, God is there. When we search with all of our hearts, we will find God (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
So if, like me, you are facing challenges this summer, don’t give up. Challenge the devil instead. If you get sucked into your own “great fish,” when you’re spewed out on the shore, be ready to share the revelations and hope in you to the Ninevah around you.
Crystal Napier attends Urshan College in Florissant, Missouri. She is pursuing a Bachelor degree in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Business. She was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia. She enjoys drinking coffee, painting and loves to laugh. A favorite scripture of hers is Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise.”