Isn’t it funny how God prepares us?  So many times I have seen God allow pain and heartache to come into a person’s life…they struggle as the storm engulfs them, wish it hadn’t come, pray for comfort and relief, and when the storm finally passes, praise God for how He works.

It seems so unnatural and against every fiber of our being… and yet when God allows us to be tested and we become more like Him; we get through the challenge, we stand firm and lean on His plan, His leading, we are grateful and equipped to help someone else walk down the same path we dreaded in the beginning.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”   1 Peter 5:6-7

Praise God for how He works!!

I mentor a young lady named Hayley.  Love this girl. Now, when Hayley does something, she goes big.  She just turned 16, and went on her first trip… anywhere.  Hayley and her family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain named Ana, and now Hayley was invited to spend a month with Ana and her family in Spain.

Hayley left July 1st.

She was so excited and so nervous at the same time.  Her excitement was infectious, and I couldn’t wait to see what God had planned for her overseas.  Now, I had a similar experience in high school, where my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Mexico.  The summer after graduation I was invited to go to Mexico for a couple weeks to stay with Liliana and her family…so I knew the fun and challenges awaiting Hayley.

I warned her that the first 3-4 days would be hardest.  Being away from home, in a different culture, speaking a different language… it is very difficult.

However, one HUGE difference between Hayley and I at that time??  I didn’t know Christ.  That places a whole different set of rules and challenges on Hayley.

True to form, a few days in I started receiving emails and messages from her expressing her heartache… she was so homesick, missing her boyfriend and struggling really, because she is surrounded by girls her age who drink, smoke, curse, and are quite affectionate to their boyfriends.  Hayley was very much struggling with staying strong, but feeling quite alone and set apart because of her beliefs.

I tried to encourage her, by giving her scripture to focus on…

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”   Psalm 37:23-24

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”   Psalm  55:22

But I felt strongly that God had called her there to be a witness, and if she stayed strong somehow He would show her.

I asked if any of Ana’s friends were believers, and she said many called themselves Christians, but didn’t act like it.  I told her I felt that perhaps there was one there, who is struggling as she is with standing up for their faith.  That perhaps God is using Hayley to give that person strength to stand up for God as well, and I would be praying for God to call that person out.

I got this email from Hayley yesterday:

“Today I could not be happier, I am so excited to tell you about the experience I had today! One of Ana’s friends and her started asking me questions to practice their English and it turned into a ton of questions about my faith. They asked me a bunch of things about the Bible and we discussed a couple miracles of Jesus, and how he died and rose for us, and how you can’t just be “good enough”.

Her friend asked me about a lot of things that are in the Bible and we even discussed why I won’t be intimate until I’m married. Please pray for him, I know I will be, and I’m sad because tomorrow is the last day I will see him but I know he is growing in his faith because he believes but has a hard time living it because of his friends and family.

It was hard to discuss because of the language barrier and I had to really try to explain things simply but it was amazing! This was the greatest day ever and I’m so excited!!! Love you! (: and miss you!”

Oh God, I praise you.

I praise You for how you work in our lives. I praise You for your protection.  I praise You for helping us understand our need for a Savior and the hope we have when we trust and rely on You and You alone…

And then you use us to point others to you?!

Oh, what an amazing God you are.  It is a pleasure and real honor to follow you.

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