I hope you're all doing well; I've been keeping you all in my prayers and hoping that this pandemic isn't having too big of an impact on you and your families.
A quick update: we officially ended this school year, and we've started up our summer activities, like Summer FOCUS and support raising. I'm honestly surprised by how well we've been able to keep going despite the craziness. But I would like to ask for some prayers. We're also beginning to plan what next school year looks like and build our leader teams, and I'd really like to ask you be in prayer for that. Especially since next school year is going to require a lot of adjustments. We always start out the school year with a big Welcome Week, which essentially is just us attending or putting on events in order to meet people and invite them to join core. Obviously events are most likely not going to be happening, so we're really trying to think through how to still caste our nets wide and meet people. Just be praying that God gives us wisdom on how to move forward and still be faithful to these people God has stepping onto campus in the Fall!
I'm not really sure exactly how to talk about what God has been stirring in my heart, but this pandemic has really made me realize how little control we have. Over the years I've read the passage in James that says:
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it it is sin for them."
I always thought that I understood that passage, but it wasn't until my whole life being turned upside down, slowed down, and reordered, that God really showed me how much I do boast in my plans. This passage reminds me of Ecclesiastes where the author is trying to get the reader to understand that life is fleeting; it's a vapor, here today, and gone tomorrow. The author ends with:
"Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgement,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil."
This past semester I've just been thinking a lot about the question 'what is it I rely on? What does my life show is the most important thing?' Over the course of this pandemic, I've realized that I've begun finding... I'm not sure what the right word is, maybe peace or satisfaction or security... in busyness and what I can accomplish. I run around doing all these things for the Lord, but I haven't spent enough time slowing down and enjoying the little things, enjoying my time with the Lord. This life is fleeting. Our worries and troubles right now will seem so small as the years pass. If we're not careful, we'll be consumed by those worries or how fast life can fly by, and we'll miss the truly important things.
Again, I don't know how this pandemic has affected you, but I would encourage you to take this time to slow down and spend sometime with God reflecting. It could be on the questions I've been pondering, but God may have some other things he wants to do in your time with him.
If you want to reflect more on these ideas, there is a great youtube video that speaks more on this: Vapor Meditation.
I just want to end by saying thank you for all your prayers and your support. I'm continuing to pray for you and your families. If you have anything specific you'd like me to be praying for, just let me know. Here is our student testimony for this month, and I hope you find it encouraging!