I went on the Crusade Men's Retreat this past Friday night and Saturday. It took quite a bit of work on God's part to orchestrate getting me there, so I'll try and convey all of the things I was aware of that had to come together for me to go.
Number one, I hadn't heard about the retreat until Thursday night, when Mr. Justin Beck sent me an IM regarding something completely unrelated, almost exactly 24 hours prior to the retreat:
(18:47:14) Justin Beck : k, thanks. Maybe between 2 and 7? Crusade is having men's retreat staring at 7, which by the way, you should come to. It is at Big Mikes house, and it should be hiiiilaaarious and stuff.
I immediately felt that I needed to go, but of course the next day I had a number of things that kept trying to hold me back, even though Justin unknowingly said what I was thinking:
(09:57:26) Justin Beck : But I am glad you want to come. Hopefully God is just waiting to work on us there.
For one, I didn't realize that Mike lived 40 minutes away, so it wasn't something on-campus that I could go to and then sleep in my own bed for the night. For another, I had a haircut scheduled for 1:15p on Saturday, which I would have to cancel. And finally, I have a standing lunch scheduled with one of the men from EBF on Saturdays. I decided in my last class of the day that I would give a weak attempt to go, but I wouldn't try too hard. "Besides," I thought, "it would of course work out that they would have all of the available cars already completely filled, and I wouldn't want to inconvenience anyone."
Now flash back to last year. I had a work-study application that I was supposed to turn in, and even now I have a memory of turning it in. The funny thing is that I rediscovered that application in a pile of papers on Wednesday. So after my last class ended at 4:00p on Friday, I walked down south to turn it in. On the way back up to my dorm room, who should I run into but Mr. Drew Dragstrem. I recognize that if I hadn't run into him, I wouldn't have gone on the retreat -- there were just too many other things that I had already planned on doing.
Drew confirmed what I had already suspected: all of the cars were filled to capacity. But Drew promised to investigate the situation and find a way for me to go, and, true to his word, he sent me an IM an hour before the rides would be leaving:
(17:31:39) Drew Dragstrem : meet at the sargent lot at 6:30 - you're riding with Tim Fleck and Mike Schuetz
So I went to the retreat knowing that God was going to say something, and right off the bat, Mr. Matt Sfura gave a fantastic talk. Not surprisingly (yet still amazingly), he said exactly what I needed to hear, and this is what it was, almost verbatim:
Make your actions match your words.
Wow. Perfect. Matt said what I already knew but hadn't been able to articulate. See, I've had this situation that's been frustrating me, but I wasn't really sure what exactly it was that was bothering me. That one sentence brought clarity to the situation.
By the way, the work-study application was dated November 14, 2004. God used my negligence to put me at the exact place I needed to be to run into Drew, which means God must have been planning for me to go on this retreat at least 5 months out, to go to a retreat that hadn't yet been planned, to hear a message that He hadn't yet burdened Matt with, to address a frustration I didn't yet have.
I'm of course joking about the 5 months thing -- God knew what I needed to hear from the dawn of time. And that's a Good Thing (TM).