Ran across this quote which spoke to my current experience…
“When we pray, coincidences happen”
It was spoken by Zen Wijeyesinghe (pronounces wa-jay-sing-a) who I came across while using the Bible App. When I study scripture I like to review the comments left by others and learn what God is ministering to them on the scripture. Yesterday in preparation for Sunday school I was reading Mathew 11 and in verse 3 the Apostle John who had been languishing in jail sent a message to Jesus asking “…Are you the expected one, or shall we look for someone else?” It’s notable because it was this same John who when he saw Jesus earlier proclaimed “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.”
One of the most insightful comments was left by Zen which made me want to learn more about him. I found a video message of his on YouTube given where he told a hilarious story and summed it up with the coincidences quote.
Indeed it was a series of coincidences that led me to the quote in the first place. The Sunday school scripture for today was Matthew 12 and I just decided to read Matthew 11 to get a good understand of what was going on when Matthew 12 happened. It was a coincidence that I found Zen’s comment in the App and a coincidence that I found the video message which was recorded 4 years ago – June 2014.
Over the last few months I’ve experienced several coincidences related to the country of Turkey which I’ve developed an interest in thanks to Netflix. I hope to visit later this year but I would love to be able to live there for a while. Until last year all I knew about Turkey was that it existed but I don’t think I really knew where it was. Now I can tell you way more than you want to know about its history, culture, economics, and a little about its politics. It’s a beautiful country with a lot of natural beauty including thousands of miles of coastline on the Black and Mediterranean Seas. It also has mountains including Mount Ararat, the place where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the flood. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that there are some Christians there among the 99% Muslim population. I’ve also been slowly learning Turkish which is completely different than English in many, many ways. My goal is to at least be able to ask where the restroom is when I visit.
Back to these coincidences. I thought I’d better write them down before I forget them all:
Just yesterday, I tuned in to the Side Hustle School podcast which I listen to every now and then. Yesterday’s episode #518 was titled “Speech Pathologist Sells Turkish Tea Towels By the Seashore” and told the story of a lady in North Carolina who was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with her day job. This lady has a relative living in Turkey providing her with unique tea towels which she has turned into a profitable e-commerce business.
At my annual trip to the eye doctor, while sitting in the waiting room I hear a commercial for the Good Feet store where the salesperson says “A customer came into the store and told us she was going on a vacation in Turkey and was looking for the right shoes.” Only recently I’d been watching show reviews to get recommendations on shoes for my upcoming birthday trip – wherever I go.
Walked into the break room at work and noticed a brochure left on the table. I picked it up to see what it was about and found it was from an organization called NICS – Network of Independent Christian Schools. The brochure listed their schools across the world, mostly in Asia, Africa, and South America. I was surprised to find Turkey on the list. I got back to my desk and went to their website and was surprised again to find their headquarters is 7 miles from my house. I emailed them and a few weeks later I toured their headquarters and met some of the staff. They said I can tour the school in Ankara when I visit.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth is one of my favorite ministries to listen to. I was surprised to get an email from them on May 7th announcing that Revive Our Hearts is now being broadcast in Turkey.
With this newfound desire to live in Turkey, I’ve followed Mary’s course of action after hearing the wise men talk about her newborn son. Luke 2:19 says “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Ponder means to weigh in the mind or to think about and reflect on something. I’ve been pondering if this desire could be from the Lord, after all “It is God who is at work within us giving us the desire and the will to do what pleases him” – Philippians 2:13.
At times I rationally think “this makes no sense whatsoever” for a variety of reasons. Most pressing is that although I’m single, never married, with no kids – I’m my Mother’s only responsible child who can help her when needed. My Mother turns 75 years old in July and is in good physical health but she’s facing challenges right now in raising her second set of grandchildren who are 12 and 16 now that they are in their teen years.
There are also financial challenges for both of us. I have way too much credit card debt, a student loan for my MBA, two years left on my auto loan, and a house that I want to keep as it’s the perfect little retirement home. I also have a couple of side hustles that provide a bit more income. Last year I took a calculated risk to participate in some larger markets that I should have done really, really well at. Sadly, I didn’t which added to my debt load. Added to this, I really need to lose 50lbs. before subjecting myself to 12+ hour flights in a cramped airplane seat.
On May 8th after pondering all these things I woke up with a distinct “Get this out of your mind! You have too many issues! You cannot leave your Mother and go move to Turkey! What are you thinking?”
As I normally do, I read OUR DAILY BREAD for the day which was titled ‘Responding to God’s Leading” written by Julie Schwab. #WOW
Here’s what it said:
In August 2015, when I was preparing to attend a university a couple of hours from home, I realized I probably wouldn’t move back home after graduation. My mind raced. How can I leave home? My family? My church? What if God later calls me to another state or country?
Like Moses, when God told him to go “to Pharaoh to bring [His] people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10), I was afraid. I didn’t want to leave my comfort zone. Yes, Moses obeyed and followed God, but not before questioning Him and requesting that someone else go instead (vv. 11–13; 4:13).
No matter how difficult it may be, following Jesus is worth it.
In Moses’s example, we can see what we shouldn’t do when we sense a clear calling. We can instead strive to be more like the disciples. When Jesus called them, they left everything and followed Him (Matthew 4:20–22; Luke 5:28). Fear is natural, but we can trust God’s plan.
Being so far from home is still difficult. But as I continually seek God, He opens doors for me that confirm I am where I’m supposed to be.
When we are led out of our comfort zone, we can either go reluctantly, like Moses, or willingly like the disciples—who followed Jesus wherever He led them. Sometimes this means leaving our comfortable life hundreds or even thousands of miles behind us. But no matter how difficult it may be, following Jesus is worth it.
Lord, help me to follow You wherever You lead.
We are not called to be comfortable.
Here’s a link to the online version with audio – https://odb.org/2018/05/08/responding-to-gods-lead/
Over the years I’ve been amazed at the number of times that the devotion for that day spoke to exactly what was going on in my life. God is using this ministry in a mighty way and I encourage you to get a copy and donate to this ministry.
Yes, I now have a strong desire to travel internationally – especially to Turkey. Yes, I have a desire to work in ministry in some capacity. Yes, my professional career is becoming increasingly less fulfilling as the weeks go by. And Yes, the things that I’ve worked towards entrepreneurially for so long don’t seem as important to me now. All of these things are true but I don’t yet have any definite answers from God yet whether this is his leading or just a random desire that cropped up…but I’m praying about it. If you are a Christian I invite you pray with me about this issue. God is sovereign. The only important thing for me and you is that we do what God wants us to do here on earth.
Read an update on this story here