Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nation and all the places where I have driven you, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
This promise absolutely boggles my mind and wrinkles my brain. It’s the promise and assurance that those who seek God will find him. If it’s such a sure promise, why do we have such a hard time believing it? All fear would be gone. All trepidation would melt away. What would I wait for? It’s not a lottery. It’s not a gamble. I won’t be disappointed. I will succeed. I will find. I will enjoy. Therefore I will go.
When we seek God he will be found. And when found he will be treasured. And when treasured we will be filled – our cups overflowing. And when filled I will continue to seek God. The pattern is obvious, the logic clear but my sinful heart still longs for other things.
When I seek idols they will be found.And when found they will demand everything from me. And when empty handed I will be left longing for more. And when longing for more I will continue to seek idols.The pattern is obvious, the logic clear but my sinful heart prefers this self torture. It’s a kind of spiritual sadism.
Teach us Lord by way of the gospel the futility of idols and the infinite joy of having sought and found you, our great treasure and reward.
So I would definitely consider my senior night speech a serious fail. As soon as my name was said the tears started coming and I knew there was no way I was gonna get through that one. So I stood up there and shook and I still don’t know if I said anything intelligible. Soooo for all of you dying for my senior wisdom and advice, I figured there was no better place to share than my favorite blog. This is more a testimony of my final year here at Villanova, and it’s gonna be long, but here it goes….
I came into this year super excited to be a junior, to meet all the new freshmen and start stepping up in preparation for next year as well, but then I made the decision to graduate early during the first week of school and rearranged my entire schedule. All my plans: minors, internships, bonding with you all at RCF, application season, everything got turned on its head and I honestly didn’t emotionally and spiritually deal with any of this till late this semester. So it’s been a really weird year for me since I’m not really a junior but I also never considered myself a senior either nor was I viewed as one by anyone else.
So as you all know, I’m premed, and now that mcat/application season was upon me I started to freak out. I have spent almost my whole life in pursuit of this GINORMOUS idol and I just knew that God was going to take it away from me, I didn’t deserve success or any of the other blessings that he has so generously showered me with. It took a lot of prayers and tears for me to submit my fate to Him and accept the fact that no, I do not deserve a single ounce of His love, but that His son’s sacrifice made sure that I would receive it anyways. I realized that half of my problem was my pride saying that since I didn’t earn God’s love I shouldn’t accept it either. Ridiculous I know, but it’s hard for someone as prideful as me to take handouts. This year set a record for the first time I’ve cried in repentance and prayer as well as a record for the sheer volume of tears. Never thought I was a crier.
Even with God hitting me on the head with His love and my sinfulness, I’m still a planner. I looked at this year from day 1 as simple preparation for leaving. I was afraid to form bonds and invest in people just to leave at the end of the year, why get myself more attached when it would make leaving more painful or reach out to people knowing they wouldn’t be able to rely on me next year. Essentially I was being self-centered and also pitying myself by saying that I was no longer needed in this fellowship and that no one wanted to invest in me now that I wouldn’t be around next year to help at all. So I spent the majority of my time in isolation. While this was great for me in many ways, quiet time alone to build my personal relationship with God and of course studying for some exam, I didn’t realize how selfish, bitter, and jealous I had been until a good friend called me out on it
Here it comes the guilt again. I had finally began to get over one idol and thought I was in a good place when BAM, HUMBLED! I was let of the hook as far as ownership and responsibility in RCF goes and I let everyone down. I didn’t help plan events or reach out to underclassmen, or you guys, or just spend time with people. I thought I was doing myself and everyone else a favor, but I was just hurting myself and all the relationships I have here. And now I’m crying because I wasted so much time this year running away from everyone prematurely and I got ‘appreciated’ for essentially doing nothing to give back to this community that had loved me so much.
In conclusion there are three main things I learned from my time at RCF: the community aspect and honesty that was missing from my spiritual life, love, and humility.
My walk with God was always one that I did alone and I felt like I grew in spite of not because of my church. RCF showed me how much I needed people to help me and support me and actually understand me. I no longer felt split in who I am but became fully devoted to God. “Being christian” is not something that I can turn on and off anymore and you guys have shown me the true power of prayer. Also seeing how much love is in this community and how much you give of yourselves to one another made me feel truly loved by a community for the first time. Never before has God moved my heart so much to love other people, but that community love has also shown me how weak and imperfect my love is, especially when I know how great God’s love is. Most of all this year has been HUMBLING. I thank God daily for humbling me because that has made the greatest difference in my life. Accepting how unworthy and inadequate I am, but knowing that there is a God who loves me unconditionally is so powerful. Seeing that I am not truly independent but in complete need of God’s grace, and that all my blessings and gifts truly are from Him, wow our God is Amazing.
So guys even though I am leaving know how much I love you all, even if I don’t always show it. I have been permanently changed by the love of RCF and the love of God and though this year was rough I know that He did it in preparation for all that lies ahead. I feel like I have grown so much and that this is still just the beginning. So take advantage of your time here, invest your time in people you care about, and always stay humble before the Lord because He will continue to shape you.
“6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5: 6-7
Okay, you failed. You totally screwed up. Guess what? You’re the only one who’s surprised. I’m not surprised. Jesus certainly isn’t surprised. In fact, He called it. He saw it coming. He’s not disappointed. He’s not frustrated. He’s not going to smite you to tiny bits, so whatever you do, don’t go cowering in guilt and shame and run away from Him. Pick yourself up off the mat and go straight to Jesus. Go find Him and talk with Him. Find out how much He loves you. Find out how it happened and get ready to face the next wave of temptation armed with some wisdom and the unshakable certainty that you can never, ever out-sin His outrageous, relentless love and grace.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
As I’ve talked to some people, I think the end of the year is making us as a junior class tired and weary. As I’ve thought about next year, I feel anxiety and feel no hope for the future sometimes.
I KNOW in my mind that I need to trust in God and give all glory to Him, but I don’t truly UNDERSTAND this concept right now in the midst of my doubts.
Tyler and I thought it would be a good idea to memorize a verse as a class. It will be our theme and a reminder of our purpose and our meaning. This is also a shout out verse to Lizzy because it’s her favorite.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When we are the most weak, God is the most strong. That is some gospel truth. Let’s continue to point each other to Jesus.
Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.
The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles’ wings, but is a life of day—in and day—out consistency; a life of walking without fainting (seeIsaiah 40:31). It is not even a question of the holiness of sanctification, but of something which comes much farther down the road. It is a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test. Abraham is not a type or an example of the holiness of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith—a faith, tested and true, built on the true God. “Abraham believed God. . .” (Romans 4:3).