Four Thousand Dollars Shy
God does the impossible.

Sitting next to my grandparents in the back row of Armstrong Auditorium, I shyly and quietly watched as people talked. At the time, I was only 9 years old and new to God’s Church. Being from Mississippi, I hardly knew anyone at services. I watched with amazement, though, as a college student approached and began a conversation with us. This was not the first time; several different college students on different occasions came to sit with my grandparents and talk with us. Experiences like this made me realize that I wanted to go to Herbert W. Armstrong College.

Years later, when I was a teen, going to summer camp solidified that desire. At camp, I learned some of the requirements for coming to college: a certain number of credits in high school, the completed application, and the $4,000 entry fee. Whoa. It was a lot of money, and I didn’t have it.

After camp, I began to pray about the entrance fee and asked God to help me save money. We did not have a lot of money as I was growing up, but God always provided us with what we needed. With very little savings to begin with and a part-time job that only paid $7.25 an hour, I started saving for college. However, it was about this time that I needed a new trombone for school. Through another awesome miracle of its own, I spent what little savings I had and bought a paid-in-full trombone.

But I still didn’t have the entrance fee. I continued to pray about it. This was definitely a strong desire of my heart, so I worked at saving and I continued to ask God to provide the money. With family and job situations at the time, it didn’t look plausible for me to go to AC. But I also knew that even though it looked impossible humanly, God could work it out.

A couple years passed. During my junior year of high school, my brother called me and asked if I would like to visit him and his family in California during spring break. After asking my mom, I happily accepted!

Before I left, my mom told me about my uncle who lives near my brother in California. She said that if I were to get the chance to meet him, I should tell him about the entrance fee to college. I thought this was strange. I didn’t know my uncle very well, and of all things to talk about, it seemed awkward to bring up financial aid. Nonetheless, I agreed to do what she said. I knew the likelihood of meeting my uncle was high, so I prayed that God would guide the conversation so it wouldn’t be awkward.

While in California, we went skiing at Tahoe, went for walks to local restaurants and shops, and I even got to drive my brother’s car! We also made plans to visit with my aunt and uncle for the last few days of the week.

I remember feeling nervous during our drive to their house. Once I met them, though, it was impossible to feel nervous; they put me right at ease. We discussed our family history in Lebanon, looked at photo albums, walked in their orchard and picked green almonds and fresh lemons, and they even taught me a few Middle Eastern customs and Arabic words. It was so much fun! But the thought of having to tell my uncle about the entrance fee still weighed on my mind.

One day while we were walking around Santa Cruz, my uncle asked about college. I figured this was my chance. I explained what Armstrong College was like, that it was my dream to go—and then quickly mentioned the entrance fee right at the end of the conversation. After that, the conversation drifted away from college, but I was relieved that I had mentioned it like my mom instructed.

Before I left California, we all went over to my aunt and uncle’s home to say goodbye. While everyone was talking, my uncle pulled me aside and handed me an ordinary white envelope with my mom’s name on it. “Give this to your mom when you get back, OK?” I slipped it into my carry-on bag and thanked him and my aunt before I left for the airport.

When I got back to Mississippi, I couldn’t stop telling my mom about the trip. On our drive back from the airport, we stopped to eat at one of our favorite burger restaurants as a nice treat. I couldn’t stop talking; I was so excited to tell my mom everything that had happened! As we talked, I suddenly remembered the envelope. I gave it to my mom and watched the smile on her face turn to shock as she read the letter. She showed it to me, and I realized that something else was in the envelope: a check. Not only did God provide the money I needed for the entrance fee, He gave me money to buy the supplies I needed for college and the travel money to get to Oklahoma—with a good amount of savings left over!

Mark 10:27 says, “… With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” My situation looked impossible. It seemed like there was no way I would be able to save $4,000. This experience taught me that God will make the impossible possible, but we must do our part by relying on Him. I had prayed about my desire to go to college, saved money, and obeyed my mom’s request. I left the rest in God’s hands. When I brought the situation to God, He was able to accomplish what I couldn’t, and He provided even more than what I needed.

Ask God for help, obey Him, and He will do the impossible.