December 15, 2020
First of all, let me congratulate you, dear student, for having made it this far despite the very challenging year that we’ve been through! You are now approaching the end of this eventful year, and it’s only a matter of days before you can finally put your feet up and say goodbye (for a while) to your modules and online classes!
As you brace yourself for your finals week, be in faith that you will make it, because hope springs eternal within you. It fuels you to rise each morning, to persevere and endure, to grit your teeth and push through challenges. Do you know why?
Because you have believed that God will do what He said.
Two thousand years ago, a teenager like you faced the greatest challenge of her life: She agreed to be the mother of Jesus Christ. Saying yes to God to be the mother of the Messiah meant giving up a quiet and peaceful life. It meant the risk of being quietly divorced or stoned to death for adultery. Likely, she experienced turmoil and battled with anxiety and doubt.
Not long after, she sought the company of her cousin, Elizabeth. Upon her arrival, she was greeted with much enthusiasm, not just by Elizabeth, but even by the baby in Elizabeth’s womb!
In a loud voice she (Elizabeth) exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women . . . Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!”
Luke 1:42,45 (NIV)
We are so used to Mary being called “blessed among women” that we forget how difficult her circumstances were at the time. How could she be “blessed,” given all that she had to face?
First, she was blessed to be in a community with others who would remind her of God’s purpose for her life and His faithfulness to His promises, regardless of the circumstance. When Mary was anxious, doubtful, or confused, the community she was in played a great role in encouraging and reminding her of who God was. This helped her fix her eyes on God and not on her challenges.
Second, she was blessed to have such intimacy with God that she could be certain of His character—that He only had good intentions for her life and that He was able to fulfill His promise, not just to her, but to the entire nation of Israel. That intimacy with God allowed Mary to look beyond what she was giving up in her obedience, and look instead at what she (and the whole world) could gain with it.
You and I are still living within God’s story. If you believe that God is faithful to His promises and that in your obedience there is more to gain than lose, you can make it through anything—least of all finals week.
I may not know why God is allowing you to go through a particular trial, but I can say this:
Be assured that God’s purpose stands regardless of your circumstance.
I may not see what God is doing behind the scenes and how your decisions will affect the future, but this is how I can encourage you:
Be expectant of what He will accomplish through your obedience.
I may not know what God wants you to do at this particular moment, but this is what I know He expects of His followers:
Be faithful in what He has called you to do as a witness and ambassador of Christ.
In the meantime, as you wait for His story to unfold, immerse yourself in intimacy with God and in community with His people. After all, we need to be constantly reminded just how strong the foundation is that our hope is anchored on.
God is not done yet. So rise up in hope, world changer! Keep the faith. Stick with church community. Live in obedience. Claim the promise. Walk in victory.