Written by: Ophelia Wen
The morning of elections for an accounting organization on campus, I woke up and opened my Bible to a random page and saw the following verse staring back at me from Job, who said “ “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). I had worked really hard in my campaign for president of the club, and the day had finally come to see if this position would be in my future. For the past two months of the Spring semester, I had prepared vigorously to become the future president of the 700-member professional student organization on campus. I had spent over a year creating new initiatives and serving in board positions in this club.
Although running for president came from my own initiative, I had a group of supporters who called themselves my ‘committee’ and who were counting on me to run and to win. Friends and members encouraged me and many said that I “had it in the bag” and it was “no contest”. It made sense. I had more experience than my opponent and was more present on campus. One of my supporters even volunteered to help me make button pins to pass out on campus.
I also created the club’s very first peer-to-peer program, known as the Buddy System back then which had over 90 participating members. My experience also included mentoring many other students, whether it was in their career development or in their progression in the club. I had an extensive network of board members and accounting professionals. By the time I made my electoral speech, I had a long list of new ideas I wanted to introduce to open more opportunities for our members.
I had done so much for this organization and, to be honest, I relished that feeling of power and recognition. It was wonderful being able to walk into a room filled with people and have them know who I was.
In the end, I lost elections. It hurt to know that virtually all of my friends on campus were still going to be board members, but I would not be able to join them on this journey. This thought sparked feelings of anger and resentment in my relationship with God. I had worked so hard for elections and practiced my speech every day. I had plans to help our members with networking and professional development, as well as ideas to make the club more inclusive. It seemed like all the hard work I put towards helping build this club up and in my campaign went to waste.
The month after I lost, I went to school to visit some friends and I was stopped by several new board members in the hallways who wanted to ask for my help on certain issues. They didn’t seem to know that, now that I had lost the race for president, I was basically “out” of the organization. In addition, my ideas were now being implemented without my involvement.
As time passed, I realized that I had been running too far ahead of God. After leaving the club behind and taking time to reflect, I realized that I had assumed that He wanted me to run for president, but I didn’t slow down and take the time to truly seek and ask Him. Soon after losing, I started getting invited to join and participate in several ministries. For the first time in the year, I attended a Bible study that helped me get connected to other sisters that I still meet with today. God had closed the door to presidency so that He could open the door for me to serve Him in other ways and grow close to Him.
The moral of the story is that losing can be painful; when we lose something we worked hard for, we often feel angry with God. However, just as He said that “for my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways” (Isaiah 55:8), He has a specific path that He designed just for you. Do you feel like your goals align with what God is asking from you right now? Is there something in your life that is making you run ‘ahead’ of God today?
The dangers of running ahead of God and losing sight of His track and His goals for you are far too many. He has a purpose and a plan for you. All that you need to do is come and receive it.