Let’s jump in. This month went in a different direction than I had expected. I have some neat stories to share about welcome week, but I was not on campus this year. I spent the end of August quarantined with covid-19. Forgive me for just now sharing this; thankfully, my case was mild with me being congested and having no taste. My testing positive led to one of the strangest two weeks I have experienced in a while. I had to struggle with several questions during my time away. All of them revolved around God’s timing and why I was sick.
For a campus pastor, everything we do in the summer ramps up for the new year. We fundraise and rest to be ready for this very season of meeting new students in August. A fact that has been drilled into my head is that our ministry is built on the work done at the beginning. So with having covid, I grieved not being on campus with my friends doing what I had been praying about all summer. Our team did an amazing job being wise and meeting new people. I would read updates of how God was working, but instead of praising Him, I found myself feeling disappointed and left out. These emotions have been hard for me to experience because of my sunny disposition.
I do not have a pretty box containing all the lessons I have learned from having covid, or at least, not yet. I just want to share a reflection I have had while reading scripture and praying recently: my identity is found in Christ, not what I bring. I had to wrestle with this truth while staying home during welcome week. God does not love us because we are able to do work for Him. The whole gospel is that we were enemies of the Lord. We were unable, incapable of restoring the relationship between us and God. Jesus did the work we could not do. I wasn’t forgiven because I did anything. Through friends and scripture, I was reminded how important it is to remember this. It is the foundation of our faith.
I want to encourage you to take time to reflect on the gospel. Below, I am going to include Romans 8:1-8. Take time to read it and I pray it encourages you. These verses are one of the many verses we find hope in as Christians.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.
Because of the mood and tone of this update, I will send another update mid-month detailing the encouraging news of welcome week. God was, of course, faithful. We were one of the only organizations on campus greeting the incoming students which led to some neat enteractions. Pray for our small groups as they start up this month. Pray for students who are lonely and anxious. Pray that students hear about our community and experience Jesus through scripture and friendship.
Thank you for your support and prayers. It means the world to me!