I am a lot of things, but one thing I know, I am not foresightful. In general, I like to live in and for the moment. I have learned that in trying to lead a campus movement that things don’t always go the best when you wait until the last minute to plan things. So, this year I started praying and planning for the semester months in advance. I found, it was actually enjoyable. Our big plan was to spend the first month getting to know as many people as possible and then invite them to a retreat to discuss life’s deeper questions. We worked with staff at the U of M and St. Cloud and decided that Kalahari Resort at Wisconsin Dells would be the ideal location for the retreat.
The semester started off wonderfully. We met hundreds of people, and had the opportunity to develop many deep relationships. However, as we started to invite people to the retreat, I realized that in my planning I had overlooked one big detail. Our retreat fell on homecoming and parents’ weekend. At first I hoped it was not that big of a deal, but as more and more people said they couldn’t come to the retreat, the reality of my error started to sink in.
My first though was basically: “I am such an idiot”, but then it turned toward frustration with God. How did he let this happen? Didn’t he want things to go well for us this year? Why didn’t he bless my attempt to be more foresightful? Instead of just sitting on those thoughts, I decided to pray about it, and Romans 11:34 came to mind.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"
You do not have to be a Biblical scholar to answer the question posed by the Apostle Paul. The answer is no one! Somehow, because I had spent a couple months planning, I thought I was up to the task of telling the God of the universe how to run things. Looking back now, I can see that God knew what he was doing.
I am sure there are more, but I can see four clear ways God has worked through this weekend:
- I learned more about trusting God. This ministry is not my thing that I am asking God to be part of. It is God’s thing that I am invited to.
- We did have a smaller group go, but our group was very close-knit. We stayed up late playing games, went hiking, hung out in the water park, and had really good discussions.
- It was helpful for the movements at St. Cloud and the University of Minnesota.
- Our staff and student leaders spent tons of time building relationships with people who are interested in learning more about Jesus. Even if they didn’t come to the weekend, we can still continue building relationships with them. If we weren’t planning the waterpark trip, I doubt we would have met so many people.
We can be so quick to question God, but it is freeing just to trust him. I’m still trying to be more foresightful, but I want to trust God with my plans. I continue to see that my plans often don’t turn out the way I think they should, but God’s plans never fail. We see that most clearly at the cross. The disciples felt like all hope was lost when they saw Jesus die, but they had no idea what amazing thing was happening. Through his death, they were saved and so are we. Because God didn’t spare his own son, we can trust that he is working all things for our good, even when our plans seem to fail.
Campus Outreach Minneapolis
University of St. Thomas Staff