Please login to continue
Forgot your password?
Recover it here.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up Now!
Register for a Free Account
Choose Password
Confirm Password

Field Story France

All In God's Time

"In a season where it does not seem like much is happening in my everyday sphere of influence, it was important for me to see that God is still very much at work. He is continuing to call people to Himself, to transform lives, and to build His Church."

Around this time five years ago, I was in Winnipeg at the beginning of a 3-month sabbatical season. I had decided to use that time to work on a writing project. While a considerable amount of writing did take place, it was not uninterrupted. Distractions, writer’s block, and many otherwise good things impeded my progress, and I did not get nearly as far along as I had hoped. I tucked away the file, and told myself that I would work on it again at some point. As months and then years elapsed, I began to feel that it had all been a waste of time, that those words would collect proverbial dust, and eventually disappear into the recesses of my computer’s hard drive, never to be seen again. 

Fast forward to this summer when I was asked if I would be willing to speak at a fall weekend retreat for Christian university students. I accepted the invitation, and as I began thinking and praying about what I should speak about, it gradually became evident to me that I could draw from what I had written several years earlier to prepare my talks.

My writing project was based on running, the spiritual life, and how “ultra-trail running” is an excellent metaphor for our journey with Jesus. I had more than enough material to draw from, in order to put together the three talks I was scheduled to give. I spent many hours re-reading, editing, translating, and adapting things for my audience. I also worked on ways to make it more interactive, including preparing a short adventure race for the students.

Although I was excited about the weekend, part of me was nervous. What if this whole theme fell flat with the students? What if I didn’t know how to really relate to young adults? What if I had gotten carried away with my metaphor, and had lost touch with what the Bible really says? I continually prayed about all these things. Lord, please guide me. Don’t let me say anything heretical! May Your Word be taught faithfully! God, prepare the students’ hearts. May this weekend encourage them and help them grow deeper in their relationship with you! 

God’s response was greater than I could have imagined. From the moment I picked up three students to drive out to the retreat location, I immediately felt more relaxed. We chatted easily, and they were clearly glad to be there. Things started on Friday evening with dinner and games. I overheard a couple of conversations where students were talking about hiking and mountains, and someone even mentioned one of the trail races I was going to talk about the next day. Another student had cycled a couple of hours to come to the retreat, and I had been told that she also liked to run. To me, it was as if God was saying: “I’ve got this, Alix.” 

Over the course of the weekend, the students were engaged and receptive. They shared deeply with one another during the small group times, and the adventure race took far longer to complete than I had expected, because they really got into it and took their time at the various stations along the course. I had made it clear that it was not a competition, but a journey to complete, and even those for whom physical activity was not attractive, embraced the experience. One of them later shared that she had not been looking forward to this part, yet it’s what God used to speak to her the most. 

There was one student who joined us just for Saturday. Accompanied by a local believer who invited her to come, they arrived as I began my first talk. A leader had told me that they weren’t sure exactly where she was at in her faith, and I was thankful she got in on the part of the weekend where I set the foundation for everything else I was going to say, particularly Jesus’ invitation to do life with Him, and how He is the only Way to true life. She stuck around for all of the afternoon activities, and she appeared to connect well with several other students. I later learned that a few days after the retreat, this student had another opportunity to hear the Gospel message, and she responded by placing her trust in Jesus!! Praise be to God! 

Despite the mental and physical energy I had poured out, I felt more and more filled up and encouraged as the weekend progressed. I was simply in awe of God’s perfect ways. The Lord reminded me that He does not waste anything, and that those many hours spent writing five years ago had a purpose I could not know at the time. I also learned that I do not need to be afraid of university students; they are really cool and relatable! 

In a season where it does not seem like much is happening in my everyday sphere of influence it was important for me to see that God is still very much at work. He is continuing to call people to Himself, to transform lives, and to build His Church. I went to the retreat to encourage others, and I left feeling that I had been the one encouraged. The Lord is faithful, and I desire to keep running the race with Him, one step at a time. 

Related Projects:

Related Opportunities: