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Updated: Mar 29

In 1977 God had given me a word that one day Debbie (my wife) and I would someday serve Him in China. He had opened many doors on this 10-year journey, leading us to this final step, graduating with a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. It was May of 1988. The English Language Institute-China had already accepted me to teach. In July we would travel to San Dimas, California, for three weeks of orientation. After that, on to our designated university in the People’s Republic of China for the 1988-89 school year. I walked across the stage when they called my name, picking up the scroll of congratulations. Our diplomas would be mailed to us later. Dinner with friends and family celebrated this wonderful milestone.

One week later, I received a letter from the university, but it did not contain my diploma. Instead, a letter informing me that my 12 transfer credits from another university would not be accepted. I had not graduated after all.

What were we to do? As we prayed, the Lord reminded us that Jesus is the head of all rulers and authorities. I needed to trust in Him and appeal to the university authorities just as Daniel had made an appeal to the authority in charge of the Jewish captives’ training and diet. So, I talked to my faculty advisor, and together we talked to the Dean of the English Department. The Dean stated that the only course of action would be for me to make an appeal to the vice president of academic affairs. He was the only one who could bypass this university policy.

The night before my appointment, Debbie and I prayed that God would give me favor in the eyes of the vice president. On the drive to the university, I prayed again and again, “Lord, give me a favor.” As I met with the vice president, he assured me that the university’s policy was to never accept credits from any “non-accredited” school unless there were extenuating circumstances. He listened politely as I explained my position. At the end of our meeting, he told me that he would send me a letter informing me of his decision. As I left, I prayed, “Lord, give me a favor.”

The following week, in the mailbox, was a letter from the university. Sitting down together, Debbie and I opened the letter. “This correspondence is to inform you that the university has decided to accept your transfer credits. You have fulfilled all the requirements necessary to receive a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Your diploma is being sent to you under separate cover. Congratulations.”

A second, greater celebration took place that evening. God was showing us that He really is the head of all rulers and authorities. He can direct the hearts of leaders where He wants them to go, even making exceptions when no exceptions are made. He was confirming His calling and direction for us at this time. This was God’s will and nothing was going to stop His will. Two months later we were in China. God had fulfilled His promise.

Has God spoken to you about a direction or ministry? As you follow His leading, trust Him to bring His plan to completion in your life even when circumstances seem to oppose what you are doing. He will do it.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields the seed for the sower and bread for the eater so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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