God’s Plan for You is Bigger

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This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

Psalms 118:23

When I was five, I decided I wanted to be a dentist. My mother was sure this desire was just a phase, but at the age of six, I went to school and met a wonderful dentist who confirmed this dream in my heart. But there’s a big difference between dreaming and achieving.

In Brazil, there are two types of postsecondary institutions: private and federal schools. Though my biggest desire was to become a dentist, I was aware that my family was poor and couldn’t afford to send me to a private university. The prep courses necessary to pass the rigorous entrance exams for public universities in other cities were also out of reach.

My plans

Still, I dreamed of studying at my state’s federal university (UFG in Goiânia), so I took an entrance exam in high school. My essay grade was extremely high, and I was so happy. But it wasn’t enough, and I didn’t pass. The following year, I was really confident that if God wanted to, He could help me pass. That year, I enrolled via a different program with different phases. I passed the first, aced the interview, but in the second phase, I failed miserably. My world came crashing down. I had already arranged a place to live in the big city, analyzed which buses I would have to take, studied what I could do to buy the instruments I’d need… everything was in place except the main thing—a spot at the university.

I went home devastated. I returned to work, to my life, with one certainty: this dream isn’t for me, and I need to accept that. On one of those sad days, a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while sent me a message with an excerpt from a song by Robson Fonseca that said:

However big your dreams may be,

God’s Dream is bigger;

He knows what you ask for,

But what He wants to give is better ;

You can’t understand today,

For you only ask what fits inside your hands

Infinite are God’s dreams for you.

I cried, thanking God for that message, and I felt relieved, even though I didn’t know what God was preparing for me.

God’s plan

One day, I was at a friend’s party when one friend turned to me and asked, “Pri, did you apply for the entrance exam in Mineiros?” I laughed and explained that Mineiros is a private university, and since I could never afford it, I didn’t even want to apply. She came close to me and said with firmness, “Get ready, because I am going to take my cousin there for the entrance exams, and I’ll pass by your house to take you too.” Once again I replied, “No, I didn’t register because even if I pass, I won’t be able to study!” She said, “Pri, just get ready. My dad is going to help my cousin, and we will find a way to help you too. You’re going to study!”

I was paralyzed, but I grasped the opportunity with both hands. To summarize, I got in, and every day I celebrated as if it were the first day. I did my best to get good grades to avoid having to retake any classes, as that would mean more money. I counted the pennies, rarely went out, divided the tuition into as many payments as I could, and wore the same clothes and shoes during almost my entire time at university. In short, I did everything I could to reduce the burden of those who set out to be my support network.

All things work together for good

When I look back, I realize how much God loves me. Instead of allowing me to pass and attend a university in a big city full of dangers, where I would have to wake up at dawn to catch the bus and return home in the dark, He sent me to a much smaller and quieter place. He prepared a place for me to live practically next to the university without having to pay rent (though I always tried to contribute with food, at least, and dedicated myself to cleaning). I was surrounded by friends who never criticized me for my religious choices. They were studious and interested in hearing about Jesus. They lent me their things without question when I couldn’t buy them, gave me clothes and shoes, took me on outings, and made me feel like part of the family.

God's plans are bigger and better

On the day of my graduation, I burst into tears when I was handed my diploma. I was afraid to wake up and find that it was just a dream. In fact, for a long time, I would wake up at night and think, “The Lord did this! It’s real!” If I achieved nothing else in my life, I would still have reason to be forever grateful. God performed a miracle in my life. Although I despaired at times, He took me by the hand and led me to places better than I could imagine.

Sometimes God says, “Wait.” At other times He says “No”. But, don’t despair or be afraid. Our dreams can’t compare to what God will accomplish in our lives. I hope that very soon you will be able to look back and say, “I’m so glad that the Lord performed His will and not mine!”

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