Scholar’s Compass Thanksgiving: Expect the Unexpected

Jesus Feeding the 5000, JESUS MAFA

Jesus Feeding the 5000, JESUS MAFA

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Reflection

It was a beautiful, hot summer day; yet, I was full of despair and anxiety. While taking a walk with my Dad, I was explaining to him my dilemma. Finally, my dream of attending the university was coming true, but there was no money. Nada. Dad asked me if I was sure that God wanted me to get a college degree. “Of course,” I replied. “Then,” he said, “Believe God. He will provide.”

Indeed two weeks before starting to attend classes, a church decided to fully support the pursuit of my dream; paying my tuition, fees, and books for four years. In addition, I received a monthly stipend.

Despair and anxiety were my emotions. What are yours? As we wrap up the first semester of the school year, do you look forward to what is ahead or are you grateful for what shall soon come to an end? Maybe your first teaching position was more than expected. Maybe the grant was denied. Maybe your advisers have gently suggested that your dissertation proposal be revisited? Or, maybe the quest for post-doc work was more uneventful than anticipated. But, is there anything too hard for God? With God, all things are possible. We need to be willing to not put God in a box and choose to discern, as well as act, on what we perceive as the impossible. In what areas have you boxed God? In other words, what areas have you assumed were too big or too miniscule for God? Was it financing for your education? Was it your choice of school? Was it your career path? Our hope becomes an act of worship and our worship needs to be full of praise and thanksgiving for the mighty daily provision our God gives.

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)

Whether it is a walk, a hot sunny day, or fully paid tuition, our hope lies in His ability to give graciously what we need, without strings attached. There is only one who is good. Praise be to God, the Lord and Father of all good gifts. Indeed God is good!

Questions

What right now is challenging your ability to believe that God can do the impossible?

Ask God to open your eyes to His gigantic goodness and thank Him in advance for the promise of what He will do.

Prayer

Lord, we know that You are able to do far beyond all that we ask or think. We ask that we would learn to expect the unexpected from You, that we would be overflowing with hope and joy as we wait to see what You will do on our behalf. We ask that our joy would abound more and more as we see You do what we could not have expected or imagined. Thank You for Your abundant generosity, and Your goodness beyond what we can describe. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


Image: JESUS MAFA. Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48287 [retrieved November 25, 2014]. More information about the JESUS MAFA collaborative art project is also available at this site. 

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Alice Brown-Collins

Alice R. Brown-Collins, Ph.D., is an ordained Minister and licensed Evangelist. Presently, she is the Associate Regional Director of Graduate and Faculty Ministries (GFM), Northeast and the area director for Black Scholars and Professionals (BSAP), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. In the past she has been director for Black Campus Ministry, InterVarsity, New England, undergraduates. In addition, she is co-pastor at New Hope Christian Ministries, Framingham, MA, with her husband, Rev. Boris Collins. In the past, she has been interim protestant chaplain at Brandeis University as well as a member of the missions board; coordinator of the prayer warriors; coordinator of women’s ministries; and a teacher for the discipleship class of the Sunday School. Dr. Brown-Collins has a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a social psychologist and has held positions as assistant professor at Brown University (Black Studies) and Wellesley College (Africana Studies), as well as adjunct professor at Brandeis University. A lecturer, teacher, and preacher, she has conducted numerous seminars and workshops on families, married couples, missions, discipleship, college ministries, prayer, multiethnicity, race relations, and women as well as participated in the Veritas Forum at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition, she has missions experience in Ghana; Guyana, South America; Kenya; and Australia. She has participated in the urban missions project, Springfield, MA, 2013. Rev. Dr. ABC loves the Lord! She is the spouse of Rev. Boris E. Collins and they have two children; Jamal, 35 years old and Kateri, 26 years old, a daughter-in-law, Marisha, and, a bundle of joy, grandson, Shamar.

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