So, if it was not already known, I am in the middle of my fourth week of college as a freshman! Even in this first month I have been stretched and challenged in my own worldview about God and the people around me. I walked on to this campus nervous and anxious hoping that life as I knew it -growing up in the same town, going to the same church and being around the same people- would keep me afloat. How I sunk deeper and deeper into the waters that I thought were a little pond. The bottom gave out and I tried grasping for the little that I knew that floated at the surface, however when I looked around I was not in the familiar pond, but in a vast ocean. I have always been a weak swimmer; I have always been terrified of drowning. Now, here I am fully submerged in the cool deep. Above me lay that which is obvious, below me the continuing density of the unknown things about God and life that float in the dark depths. It is hopeless to try and go to the surface. I cannot anymore. I can only go deeper.
It is not a very comforting feeling when you wade into the waters thinking that you know its borders, depth and widths, then realizing that all you ever really have known lies on the surface of reality. It is useless trying to paddle back up to the surface where comfort lay because God has created us to desire increase in every area of our life. Once I have had a taste of wisdom (or increase in any aspect), I cannot just go back to the level of understanding that I had before even if they have cookies and a comfy couch. I have tasted the super saltiness of the deeper waters of wisdom of who God is and my place in his plan, it has coated my skin and I want nothing more than to be even saltier (maybe that is to what “seasoned” refers).
I hope you get the picture that I am trying to paint with my words. This is the purest way that I can express the way moving out and moving a thousand miles away and attending college feels. To use a more common, rather cliche phrase : The world has opened up so wide to me.
So, in this new place, where I realize even greater the the scale of my petty wisdom against the entirety of reality, I have really come to understand the scripture,
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are MY ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 (ESV)
As I was began to be humbled so greatly by God, room was being made in my mind and heart to receive new wisdom from the Lord. The plans that I had assumed, began to get turned on their side, and flipped upside down. Other passions that I had followed are beginning to find their place in the foreground of my life while other passions are sliding into the background. God has been placing new desires and new visions for how I will minister to people in the future. In these images I see myself doing things that I could never do on my own strength. In these visions, I see my weaknesses having no relevance. I don’t feel able, I don’t feel worthy or such awesome plans; but, God does not see these weaknesses, he only sees me strengthened by His infinite strength. Oh, how His ways reach high above my human understanding!
These mountains, and seemingly improbable plans God has for me are but bumps in His eyes. I desire so much that I would began to see things the way the Lord sees them and I would not shrink back when I see the mighty things He has in store for me. There is no other way that God can be glorified through humanity other than using ordinary, boring, weak people to accomplish great, amazing and incredible things through Him. Just as in the book of 1 Corinthians when Paul is addressing the church in Corinth about wisdom,
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to wordly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 (ESV)
These monumentally impossible things that people are doing through Christ, cannot be attributed to man alone. All man says is “You are where you live,” or that those without a college education will never go anywhere in life; God says I give you all the riches of my kingdom: I give you my strength, joy, peace and wisdom to accomplish the desires and dreams that I have placed in your heart.
“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (ESV)
God chooses us in our ignorance, and unrefined natures and desires to mold us into beautiful pottery. God has a bit of an obsession with taking us in our brokenness and making us into glorious beings that glow brightly for Him. He wants to meet you where you are, in your particular degree of shame, give you a taste of His love and wisdom of who He is and take you into the ocean of His grace* where He will take you places you never thought you would go.
A few weeks ago in a student chapel, the student body president shared a word from the Lord. I didn’t realize how much it brought on this post until now! He was using rather hilarious, physical examples of how many times we stay in the “kiddie” pool of faith in and understanding of God when God has a whole ocean in store for us filled with His love and all of His goodness. God is calling us to jump in! Search the depths of who He is: He is wisdom. In this scripture in Proverbs a personified “wisdom” is speaking,
“Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord,” Proverbs 8:34-35 (ESV)
So I want to reiterate the benediction of my student body president and of God himself:
Dive deep into the waters of my love and who I am! Don’t settle for the little pond of understanding in which you currently dwell.
*grace: the favor and lovingkindness we receive ONLY through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice that we may draw near to God and become more like Him.