Never Looking Back

Matthew Hanson

Matthew Hanson

When a student comes out of high school, usually their biggest decision is what college to attend and what degree to pursue. Most students ask relatives, do research or ask friends that are already in college to help them make the right choice.  But when a student prays and asks God to lead the way there is no bad decision that will come from that.  This is the route Matthew Hanson, freshman theology major decided to take as he was getting ready to choose a college.

“I was actually going to attend another university. I had it all planned out,” says Hanson. “I prayed about it and right after I graduated high school, my prayer was to either go straight to university or wait out a year and get funds ready and then go to university.  The more I prayed about it, the more God told me to wait to go to college, get money and then go.”

After Hanson received his answer from God, he had so many questions and wondered why God had told him to wait for a year. He was beginning to get frustrated as he saw his friends go to their university freshman orientations.  But God always has a plan, and a few days later Hanson got an unexpected call.

“My family and I went to the 60th General Conference Session in San Antonio back in July. While we were there, we stopped by the Southwestern booth. I began to talk to one of the people at the booth and they told me to register to be eligible to win a $32,000 scholarship, so I signed up,” says Hanson. “About a month later towards the end of August, I was asking God ‘why did You have me wait,’ since I already knew where I wanted to go.  I was working one night and I got a phone call from Cleburne, Texas. I have family in Cleburne so I figured it was them and texted the number to call me back after work.  I got a text back saying: I’m an enrollment counselor at Southwestern Adventist University, I just wanted to inform you that you won a $32,000 scholarship to our University. Call us back as soon as you can. So the next morning I called them back and I asked them what was going on. They told me I had won the grand prize from the General Conference session in San Antonio and I had to give them an answer on whether I was planning on accepting the scholarship or not by the end of the week.”

Any student aspiring to go to a university would have taken the offer right away.  But Hanson still wasn’t sure because he had his heart set on another university and he even thought of declining the scholarship he’d won.  But like always, he decided to pray and ask God for wisdom for this big decision he had to make.

“After I hung up the phone I began to pray. As I prayed, I decided like Gideon to set up a fleece for God that if this would happen I would go to Southwestern but if this wouldn’t happen then I wouldn’t go,” says Hanson. “There was a professor at the other university that told me if I needed anything to give him a call and he would take care of me.  So I decided to call him, and if he would just answer the phone I would tell Southwestern that I wasn’t going and I would go to the other school. I rigged it to where it would work in my favor, so I called the other university and they said that the professor was out at lunch and to call back later.  I called back after a couple of hours, it rang and rang and no one answered so I left a voicemail message.  I left the same message on his office phone, on the department phone, department secretary’s phone, and someone else called me and gave me his cell phone and I left the same message on his cell phone. I told God that the professor had until midnight to call me back, since it was still pretty early in the day I figured that he would call me back. The day went by and before I knew it midnight came I turned to my dad and told him that I was going to Southwestern.”

Hanson could really see the hand of God moving and opening doors in his life that he could have never opened by himself.  It was miracle after miracle that helped Hanson become a student at Southwestern Adventist University.  Hanson found out first hand that not only does God provide for people, but he also works in so many mysterious ways in order for people to have better futures.

“God really blew my mind when it was all said and done,” says Hanson. “It’s something that I can’t explain.  I went back to Arkansas a couple of weekends ago and I was telling my former boss at school how much I loved Southwestern. He had the most puzzled look on his face. He told me ‘Matthew, what happened to you because you hated Southwestern and now all you can do is talk good about it.’ I told him, all I can say is that God changed me and His plan was so much better than mine. God gave me a blessing that I would have never had, had I not been willing to listen.”

Today, Hanson believes that God will lead students to the university where He knows they will succeed and where He needs them the most.

“If God is leading your decision for school, then there should be no doubt in your mind of what you’re doing. He will open all the doors necessary,” says Hanson. “I’m a testimony to that. I watched him open doors that I could have never opened on my own. And I’ve never looked back and I never will because I had God lead the way.”

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1 Comment

  1. Jo (Lynda) Cahill
    October 29, 03:18 Reply
    Hi, Matthew! This is Hannahb's mom, Jo (or Lynda--whichever you know me by). I got on the SWAU site for a totally different reason, but the first thing I saw when the site opened was your sweet little face (hugs and cheek pinch, pinch, pinch . . .ahem . . .sorry . . . the Mom Factor is strong in this one! Lol!), so I clicked the link and here I am. Hb's directness and practicality means she rarely gives details, so I did not know all this went down when you decided to attend SWAU. She had said you were going to sit out a year and, the next thing I know, she told me you had decided to go, after all, but that is all I heard. I just wanted to say how wonderful this essay/testimonial is and that I am so proud of you, Young Man <3 Congratulations, as well! Insert obligatory Mom-like closing admonishment here: Be sweet and study hard :) Hannah M's Mom, Jo C.

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