Clement Blanc

clementIn the Spring of 2011, I spent a semester in a VT lab for an internship in acoustics. Just to give a short overview of my life before that point, I had been raised in a Christian family in France, I gave my life to Christ at an early age, and at least from the end of my high school years, it’s been strongly on my heart that I wanted to serve God with my life. I’ve been playing the bass at church since I was 14, and I saw myself serving God somehow with music. By the time I got to VT, the thing grew bigger in my heart, I was seriously considering not becoming an engineer, but serving God full-time with my instrument.

During that semester at VT, my internship left me a decent amount of free time, and I mostly spent it practicing the bass (between 15 and 20 hours a week), but by the end of April, my forearms suddenly got very painful. I first needed to stop to play the bass, and fairly quickly I also needed to strongly reduce my work pace at the lab. I even spent few days home doing nothing with ice bags on my arms to reduce the inflammation.

Needless to say that it was a pretty rough unexpected change. As the days went by, it was not getting any better. I didn’t know it, but it was the beginning of 2 years without being able to play the bass on a regular basis with frequent painful times and without being able to use the keyboard of a computer for more than few minutes. Just to show the depth of God’s work in that situation, I want to emphasize how tough it has been. I was losing hope of fulfilingl my dream of serving God with my instrument. I was completely lost concerning God’s will. But it got even more serious going back to France where I was afraid about not being able to get my degree.

After my time at VT, I still had one semester at my French university plus another one semester internship. During most of my semester at school, I was able to write with a pencil, but was hardly able to spend more than 30 min typing on a keyboard. But for the last month of school, I wasn’t even able to take any notes.

I was about to start a mandatory internship where I was supposed to work on a computer 8 hours a day. I was scared. Before my first day at work, I wake up and my arms are already fairly painful (which even in the worst periods was unusual). I’m not asked to really work on the computer, mostly to do some readings, but even the short time just installing 3 or 4 software programs causes my arms serious pain.

My second day at work, I’m supposed to write a short report on what I just read, how I understand my project, how I plan it, etc. I start to type. Nothing. No pain for the first time in months. I go back home and start to use my computer and the pain is back. It went like that for months: I would go to work, spending many hours typing reports and feeling no pain and going home having the hardest time typing a 10 line email.

God was clearly not done with me being sick, but God was also providing just what I needed to keep going with that internship. I don’t think there is a better way to grow in your faith than having to rely on God every morning to heal you in order to be able to do your work for one more day. On the medical side of it, my situation got better very slowly. I started to go back to playing bass more frequently on March 2013.

But the story doesn’t stop here. When I got sick, I didn’t do nothing with my new free time. I started to read my Bible more, watch sermons on YouTube, read Christians books, etc. I started to learn about God from my trial, but also from everything I was watching and reading and it kept going until now. Out of that, my love for the Word grew stronger every day and also a love to share with the people around me what I was learning.

Through this journey, God was leading me somewhere. At the end of 2012, I felt clearly that I needed to set myself apart to study the Word in a seminary. I don’t exactly where it’s gonna end, maybe as a pastor, maybe something else, but I know that in 2 weeks I’m done with my work and I start seminary near Paris. I’m fully thankful to God for this trial which started 2 and a half years ago in Blacksburg and  has led me to commit myself fully to Him to serve Him for the rest of my life. God is faithful.

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