- - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Many a Christian college student has earnestly prayed, “Lord, what shall I do with my life?”

As a senior at Wheaton College, I was sitting uncomfortably in our college chapel during our Spiritual Emphasis Week, praying for God’s direction after graduation. It was during the days of Vietnam and the draft. I was completing ROTC and awaiting commissioning, and I was anticipating my August wedding.

But I was also terribly insecure as to my real future as an adult. Our speaker, Leighton Ford, perhaps best known to us students as Billy Graham’s brother-in-law, allowed us time for serious prayer during each service. As best I knew how, I prayed. Every night that week, I prayed.

This was a life-changing week for me. Over the course of five days of intense, honest prayer, God outlined my future. At the end of the week, I felt fully assured in plans to serve in the U.S. Army for 20 years, then pursue Christian employment with the security of the Army’s excellent retirement plan. Reflecting today, I marvel at how naive I was. Even so, God generously and clearly laid out his plan for my life at that time.

At the 21-year point of a successful military career, I completed the U.S. Army War College and was selected for promotion. My way seemed clear — until a month later when the doors to a different kind of service opened wide: the Christian Legal Society offered me a job as administrator.

While considering the offer, I remembered my college prayer and assurance returned. I requested that my name be removed from the promotion list, and I retired from the Army.

I loved the job at the Christian Legal Society. I learned so much, both in management and in depending on the Lord for the staff and resources to keep the ministry moving forward. For over 14 years, the Lord used our staff and board attorneys to teach me the proper way to manage a nonprofit.

I thought that for the rest of my life I would be supporting Christian lawyers who were protecting religious freedom. My college prayers seemed fulfilled. Little did I know.

While working at the Christian Legal Society, I accepted a position as a church elder and was assigned to our missions council. One question nagged me: “Why are we sending youths on expensive trips to Ukraine and Jamaica but doing nothing to serve the needs of poor and hurting people in our nation’s capital — right next door?”

God used that question when I was given responsibility for expanding our church ministries into the District. As only God could arrange, Central Union Mission seemed to be at every organizational meeting I attended. Soon, I was leading church groups into the city to volunteer at the mission and its Camp Bennett.

In 1997, when the mission was facing a leadership challenge, I was able to offer some thoughts on Christian conciliation, and the board of directors invited me to join them as a member. Six months later, they invited me to serve Central Union Mission as executive director, challenging me to apply my military, nonprofit and church experiences. God moved me from one “mission” to another.

Eighteen years later, I continue at the mission. God answered my college prayer beyond all I could hope for or imagine. As Isaiah 65:24 promises, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”

I challenge you today: Ask him. I’m a witness that he will give you his answer.

Retired Army Lt. Col. David O. Treadwell has been executive director of Central Union Mission since 1998. He is married and has three grown children and three grandchildren. The mission (MissionDC.org) is the District of Columbia’s oldest social service agency and serves the disadvantaged people of the city with shelter, training, food, furniture, clothing and the message of Christ’s love.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide