God Spoke, and I Looked in the Bushes!
The following is a true story . . .
I will never forget The Voice. Climbing up the steep steps to my college library that cold December morning, my thoughts were on the paper I needed to do research for. The library was just opening, and I was alone on the steps. Suddenly my ears are jarred by this very loud and authoritative voice! “I want you to go to Canadian Bible College this coming semester and for the following year.” It was so loud I thought my friends might be playing a joke on me, so I glanced behind the tall bushes by the steps. As I looked, my heart was telling me I had just heard God, the Creator of the Universe, verbally speak to me! Almost like Moses at the burning bush I said, “But Lord . . . Nobody applies to go to another college in two weeks’ time!!” He was silent, and I got the message.
It was two weeks before the end of the semester and Christmas break at my upstate New York college. The only thing I knew about Canadian Bible College was that my roommate had a brochure lying on his desk from them. I had never heard of the school before and didn’t even know where it was located in Canada. The memory of The Voice compelled me onward, and I asked my roommate if I could have the brochure with its attached response card. I filled in my name, home address, and said, “Here goes Lord,” and dropped it in the mail.
The school I discovered was located in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada–1,500 miles from my home in Columbus, Ohio. This was back in the ’70s when there was a severe energy shortage when cars were backed up for blocks trying to get gas. The airlines were having the same problem. Before leaving New York, I went to a travel agent to buy a round-trip ticket to Regina. I was told, because of the shortage, I could only purchase a one-way ticket to Regina, and I got the only seat they had left. So, in total faith, I purchased the ticket and went back home to Columbus for Christmas break.
At home waiting for me was the enrollment package from Canadian Bible College. I quickly completed the package and sent it to the school. As Christmas break drew to a close, I still hadn’t heard anything from the new school. I looked at the ticket I had already purchased wondering if I had done the right thing. Here it was the day before I was to leave for Regina, so I prayed, “Ok Lord, you told me to go, and I’m gonna go, but if I get stuck, it’s up to you to get me unstuck!” Later that day, I received my one and only ever Western Union Telegram saying I had been accepted at Canadian Bible College for the coming semester!
The next day my cute girlfriend (later my wife) drove me to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, airport to fly to Regina. That was the closest airport we could fly out of because of the energy shortage. It was an unseasonably balmy 50 degrees for a day in January. Saying our goodbyes, I boarded the plane still trusting the Lord. The Regina airport back then had an old-fashioned design–the plane would land and stop on the runway, and then the passengers would disembark, walk across the runway in the open to the terminal. Shortly after crossing the northern U.S.-Canadian border, our plane landed; I stepped out of the plane and was stunned! With the wind chill factor, it was 50 degrees BELOW ZERO! A 100-degree drop in temperature was a real shocker to my system! It was a very long distance to that terminal, and my parka was in my luggage; I was the only person running and yelling all the way to the terminal!
After I got my composure and folks around me stopped laughing, I called a taxi. By the time the taxi came, it was dark outside. I shared my travel story with the taxi driver and the story of how I came to know Jesus. When we arrived at the school, she was crying a bit; I prayed with her and she only charged me half price. Now, there I was–standing in front of the school. I walked in the front door and saw a light on my left coming from what seemed to be a small bookstore. It was the day before the students were to arrive, all 200 of them, and a lady was diligently organizing a pile of textbooks.
In my happy, cheerful voice, I loudly said, “Hi!,” and the poor old lady nearly jumped over a chair! I announced to her, “The Lord told me to come here, so now that I’m here, what do I do?” After she recovered, she said she was in the process of closing the bookstore, but would call the Dean of Men first and tell him I was here. She did that, turned off the lights, said, “Goodbye,” and left. I was left standing in the darkened building with just the dim security lights lit. Out of nowhere I heard the tapping of footsteps, and in the dim light about thirty feet away, a girl stopped and stared at me. With the lighting and shadows, she almost looked like a ghost! As we stared at each other, she asked, “Are you Nicky from Columbus, Ohio!” I was shocked! This living apparition knew my name!!
It turned out she had been on a missions trip to Thailand the summer before with my girlfriend and recognized me from her pictures! On top of that, she said that she worked in Admissions, and when she saw my late application come in, she connected my name from my girlfriend‘s conversations, and so put my application at the head of the pile of applications. Now I knew how I got accepted so quickly into the school. While we were talking, the Dean of Men showed up, and we headed over to the men’s dorm.
On the way, he said he couldn’t figure out how I got accepted because every bed in the dorm was filled. He said, “For now, I’ll just put you in one of the guy’s rooms for the night, and when the rest of the students show up tomorrow, we’ll try to find a place for you off campus.” While walking down the hall between the dorm rooms, this skinny Canadian guy comes up to the Dean of Men and says, “Dean, my roommate just left and said he wouldn’t be back for this semester.” The Dean looked at me, looked at the skinny guy, then said to me, “Meet your new roommate!” Clearly, “The Voice” of God had spoken to me as He went before me and “made a way, where there seemed to be no way.”
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19 NAS (B.B)
Post Script: One other little thing. When I arrived at the college, I had ZERO money to pay for the semester. Since the Lord told me to go and had worked out everything else for me to be there, I figured He would take care of the money as well. When they asked me how I wanted to pay for the semester, I smiled and chuckled saying, “Good question; I have no clue!” When they learned I had done maintenance work in the past, they put me on a maintenance crew. I shoveled a lot of snow that winter and did other things around the college, and at the end of the semester, I walked away with nothing owed. PTL!!! Oh, and by-the-way, my new roommate and I became lifelong friends and are in frequent contact to this day.