Our son Joshua is 20 years old. I am a member of the Intercontinental Hotel Group, IHG. When I am in the US, I always stay at Holiday Inns or Holiday Inn Expresses.
I have built up over 500,000 reward points in my many years of travels. In India, they do not have Holiday Inn Expresses. They have Holiday Inns and Crowne Plazas. I try to use my points to stay at one or the other in Delhi every time I fly back to India. The funny thing is the Holiday Inn is actually more expensive than the Crowne Plaza because it is closer to the airport where the land is more expensive. So I usually choose to stay in Gurugram at the Crowne Plaza because it is nicer and cheaper. Joshua is usually the one who comes to the airport to get me because no one wants to throw off the routine of a toddler by having him come to the airport at midnight. So Joshua and I usually use this time for some father-son bonding.
On one of these stays, I asked Joshua if he had any idea where God was leading him in terms of a career. Joshua already has a Bible College degree but doesn’t feel called to typical ministry. “Actually Papa, I think I want to work in a hotel like this. I would love to work at the front desk of a five-star hotel.”
I thought that sounded like a fantastic idea. We began the process of trying to find the best hotel management school in India. The best is the Indian Institute of Hotel Management. They work with the best hotels in the world. We found a campus in our state capital and soon visited. We were very impressed with the staff and the education provided. Joshua enrolled and was soon to start school. This is not a big school so they didn’t have dorms for the students. It was up to us to find housing for Joshua. They did recommend a guest house that housed quite a few students. It was within walking distance to the school. We visited it and felt it would be ok at least for the first semester. Joshua seemed to be doing find that semester, but acted a little strange when he came home for break.
I finally got to the root of the problem. He told me that he wanted to change housing because there were many “unsavory fellows” in the rooms. He told me of guys who constantly partied and did other unwholesome things that I will not mention. I personally went to a Christian school so wasn’t exposed to as much of this as Joshua. It did happen at my college, but the school did not allow it on campus and definitely not in the dorms. I told Joshua that I was fine if he wanted to leave because he didn’t want to be exposed to that. Joshua is a good kid and we tried to raise him as best we could. He didn’t want to be in that environment and I respected that. I could care less about the cost of the new room or the money wasted. I just wanted him in a position where he could learn and not be always in a position of temptation.
But as I was talking to Joshua a thought entered my mind. I shared it with Joshua in that moment. “Joshua”, I said, “What if God put you there for a reason? What if this will be the only time in their life where they have a Christian that is in their daily life? I know that hotel management can be tricky because you are around so much temptation. But what if this will be the only chance your classmates see Jesus. How would you respond to that? Would you be running away from a situation that God purposely put you in? I don’t know the answer for you but I think you should spend the night in prayer and decide in the morning. If you decide to change houses I will support you both emotionally and financially. But maybe God put you there for a reason.” Joshua took it all to heart and I could tell that he sensed that God had a plan. A parent always knows the heart of their children. I knew Joshua was wrestling, but I also knew that he would make the right decision.
The next morning Joshua told me that he wanted to stay where he was. He wanted to shine the light of God exactly where God had placed him. He made that decision for himself. I was so proud of him. It hasn’t been easy but he has persevered. Times have been tough but he has been the only shining light in a place of deep darkness. Has God called you to be in a place of uneasiness or struggle? Maybe, just maybe, God wants you to be there for such a time as this so He can be shared in ways He couldn’t otherwise. Sometimes we all are in tough situations. But sometimes we are there because that is exactly where God wants us to be.