Our Right Place

A marine biologist learns that there are always unlimited opportunities for good.

By Sean Hanser, CA

Categories: Guidance

Have you felt God at work in any of your experiences?
Yes, in my entire grad school experience. I went to grad school thinking that I had a collaborative relationship with someone who worked in a national park in Alaska. Unfortunately, that fell through at a key moment when I thought it would move forward. I was appalled and frustrated when the person said no. I explained that it was a pretty big let down and asked for any other ideas.

The individual gave me a name of someone who was not one of the biggest names on the map in science, but I had heard it. It worked out that I started some fieldwork with this person's group. I had to work very hard since they didn't have a lot of money. They needed a lot of personal time and elbow grease from me. But I was getting in there, and that was a blessing.

It turns out that the first person and I wouldn't have worked well with each other because of style differences. The new group members and I did work well together. Since I was helping them, they handed me their boat. In addition, they had a permit so I didn't have to apply for one, and I got the necessary certification to work with the whales.

I had to be patient, as it took a number of years to unfold. It was one of those things that I wouldn't have chosen by looking at it, and I wouldn't have been able to plan. I found I wasn't dumped anywhere but where there was a blessing to be had.

Had you been praying with any specific ideas?
I was doing a lot of work with the Lord's Prayer. I really enjoyed thinking about what Jesus meant when he said, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:10). To me, one of the key elements of heaven is harmony. So I got to thinking about that -- that the harmony I know is true in the kingdom of heaven applies to the human experience on "earth." It allowed me to make room in my thought for what I knew to be an absolute idea to guide my experience more.

My dissertation, which I'm working on getting published, has been a good example of God's guidance being reflected in my experience. I had been advised to write a different research back-up plan because it looked like my whale research wasn't going to be funded. I had been doing research in this area since 1995. But it was funded, and I'm really pleased with my work and experience.

I'm very grateful for the inspiration I gain from the Bible. In it I see character examples for conduct. I am constantly impressed by the relevancy of the Bible lessons and how they can be applied to daily life.