When God Calls You

125 days from now, I’ll be attending my orientation day at Columbia University in the City of New York. That is, I will be living in one of the most populous and diverse urban agglomerations in the world, surrounded by 800 languages and races. I will be one of the eight million New Yorkers out there trying to keep up with the fast paced life. Moving from the South will surely give me culture and sticker shock, but beyond all this I can’t wait to start the new chapter of life! This past year, I’ve had the honor to watch God move my heart and take me to the place I’d never thought in a million years. Let me share with you how it all started.

It was a sunny Wednesday on June 10th, 2015, when I began to embark on this journey of faith. I was in the middle of completing my certification program at the United Nations Headquarters when I first met Ms. Poole, a representative of UN Global Pulse, a flagship initiative of the United Nations on big data. Two hours passed the morning clock, and I could not stop but jotting down every word she explained on the use of data science in support of humanitarian efforts worldwide. Throughout that day, the room continued to be rife with global discussions among International Affairs scholars, Fulbright fellows, politicians, businessmen, nonprofit leaders, and officers from intergovernmental organizations like the UN and FBI.

Out of the selected forty participants, I was the only one with an engineering background. So I needed to put in an extra effort to familiarize myself with inner workings of governments, legal processes, UN policies and such. While I wasn’t into any of the political sides, I was able to slice through the analytical and technical aspects of solving global issues. There and then, I completely fell in love with the possibilities that data has in store for humanity. What seemed to me like unsolvable questions were turning into an unshakable passion.

Captured on the spot as I saw it, credits to my old iPhone 5.

That evening, some of my colleagues asked if I wanted to join them for bar-hopping, food-hunting, fun talking and dancing in this city that never gets old. As alluring as it sounded, I had to refuse their offer so I could journal everything down. Somewhere between 52nd and 5th avenue on my way to New York Public Library, I tasted for the very first time an explosion of colors as if I could identify them with emotions.

It’s the craziest thing that ever happened to me. I was showered with zeal and excitement. Like a wildfire, I felt as if everything I touched could burn.

It was an indescribable feeling that also shifted my perspective of the city. To my human sense, it would be very unlikely for me to like a place like the Big Apple, as I had always wanted to live in a peaceful place like Interlaken in Switzerland, or Silicon Valley at most — if I were to choose any place in the States.

“No one can stop me when I taste the feeling,” — Taste the Feeling, originally sung by Avicii and Conrad Sewell.

But what looks impossible to men is possible with God. When God calls you, He will equip you. Why? Because He is faithful and His plans for you are far beyond what you could ever ask or imagine. Throughout the three weeks that I stayed in New York City, He equipped me with a life-changing perspective, a solid desire, and even the feeling of home. If God wasn’t real, what kind of power could do this to me? What kind of being could give me such a peaceful hope and inexplicable fire simultaneously?

I wholeheartedly believe that this hope is alive and constant. The one and only who kept me grounded every time I felt like giving up, who guided me through all the succeeding months when my fire dimmed and my passion became questionable. Nevertheless, even after years of knowing New York as the most overpriced, nasty, and packed-like-sardines-in-a-can kind of place, I’ve come to appreciate the hustle-bustle of this city. Through experiencing firsthand the endless energy that the city exudes, I’ve found beauty and peace amidst its messiness and chaos. Crazy enough, I felt home.

Isn’t that funny how God works sometimes. He can move you and change anything for your good before your very own eyes. He wouldn’t just call you somewhere and make you do the things you hate. He loves you so much that He would give you the will and the power to do what He has called you to (Phil 2:13). He instills in each of us seeds of dreams to pursue His calling, and the best thing is, He will never leave us. He will always be there to help us prepare for it, but how we respond to His call is our own choice. When we respond to Him by being all ears and through prayers and obedience, I have no doubts that He will elevate and take you to places you never thought you would be. Doubts and fear will be a constant battle, but He will give you faith that’s bigger than your fear.

x MT