by Annette Bridges. © 2006. All rights reserved.
I never thought about not going to college. During the fall semester of my senior year I was busy, like my classmates, sending out college applications to my top choices. Of course, I had a favorite: a private liberal arts college in another state. And in January, I got the good news—I was in!
I also never thought about how I was going to pay for college. My mom could help with some of the tuition fee, but I’d need to apply for whatever loans and grants I could find—and plan to work as much as possible. Even with the grant money, however, I was still short a significant amount. And I didn’t think I could earn enough during the summer to cover the remaining expenses.
Still, I never considered not going to my first-choice college. I was convinced I would find a way to cover my costs. I remembered that “. . . all things are possible to God . . . .” This was a lesson I had learned well while attending a Christian Science Sunday School.
Jesus said it this way: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” And Mary Baker Eddy spoke about the faith required when she said, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,—a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.”
I had faith that it was possible for me to go to college. But I didn’t know where else to turn to find the money. I had enough to take care of the first semester—but then what?
The healings of Jesus recorded in the Bible had been a source of inspiration and guidance to me all my childhood, and they still are. I have always expected to find in the Bible the answers I need for every situation or problem I face.
I read again about a man who was waiting at a pool called Bethesda. It was believed that, at a certain time, the water there was stirred by an angel. Tradition said that whoever got into the water right after the angel had visited the pool would be healed. A crippled man had been waiting 38 years—probably most of his life—to enter the pool. But each year, he missed the perfect moment and others got to the water first. Still, he didn’t give up. And his hope was finally realized through Jesus. His healing came—but in an unexpected way.
This account, in John’s Gospel, gave me a new perspective on my worries about college expenses. Was I limiting my options? The man at Bethesda had thought the only way he could be healed was if he got into the pool at exactly the right time. Yet that wasn’t the “only way,” and when Jesus redirected his faith from a pool of water to the Christ-power that uplifts and heals, the man found the freedom he had longed for.
Where was my faith, I asked myself? Was it tied to loans and grants? To finding ample employment? Getting a scholarship? What were my options? Did I face a future of uncertainty and fear?
What I learned from thinking about Jesus’ encounter with the man at the pool of Bethesda was that God is always sending me—and everyone—infinite possibilities. I needed to open my thought to them, not define or limit the ways my needs could be met. Looking to God for a solution calmed my fears and brought confidence, assurance and peace.
When I headed off to college, I was taking a leap of faith. But my faith was absolute. It was a confident expectancy that God knew the best way to meet my needs. And my leap was sure-footed. Semester by semester, prayer led the way to my college degree. And expenses were paid each semester in countless—sometimes unexpected and unexplained—ways.
One unexpected and unexplained solution came in the form of a note in my school mailbox informing me an anonymous donor had paid the remainder of my tuition that year. There were also many loans, grants, scholarships and awards. And a variety of jobs—some of which gave me valuable experience that served me well in future endeavors.
My college experience provided me with groundwork for the rest of my life. What I learned has redirected my faith to God, who truly does meet my every need. His ways are infinite—and sometimes quite unexpected.
All things are possible with God.