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God is With You, God is For You

The process of returning to college after a few decades can be a daunting experience. Writing assignments, deadlines, reading, and study time, can feel defeating if not insurmountable. How does one balance schoolwork with life commitments, family, and leisure time?

The fears that often overwhelm us are not new within history or to God! It’s no small wonder that over 140 times in the Old and New Testaments the phrase, “Do not be afraid’ is reiterated in a variety of ways. Fear of failure and abandonment are ongoing, but God’s reply is a resounding, “I am with you!” Trusting in this simple truth is critical in your journey as a student.

Writing amidst the horrors of World War II, a German Lutheran pastor named Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his friend while in a Nazi prison and asked an extremely simple question, perhaps the most important of the past 100 years: “What is Christianity, or who is Christ actually for us today?”[1] In your college journey, you may have similar thoughts or doubts about the role that God plays for you. Is He present in your study? Is He actually with you? Bonhoeffer determined that participation in God’s kingdom would actually lead us back into the world:

We are invited to participate in the reality of God and the reality of the world at the same time, the one not without the other. The reality of God is disclosed only as it places me completely into the reality of the world.[2]

As Christians, we are called into the reality of the world by a God that entered into the same reality. Christ coming to earth as God in the incarnation is God’s yes to humanity. This is not God removed from us in an impersonal way, but God for us, an eternal yes to us in our situation, reality, and trials.

Attending college online can often mean adding more to life. As pressures, mount and family, work, and finances close in remember the high calling to which you have been chosen. God hasn’t called you out of the world; he’s calling you back to it. He’s commissioning you for service in His kingdom. God is with you; God is for you!

In closing, please meditate upon this beautiful passage in Isaiah about the timeless way in which God is with you:

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.Since you are precious and honored in my sight,and because I love you,I will give people in exchange for you,nations in exchange for your life.Do not be afraid, for I am with you."(Is. 43:1b-5a)

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David Mau graduated from CCU with a Master's in Theological Studies in 2021 and is an enrollment counselor for the College of Adult and Graduate Studies.

[1] “Letter to Bethge, April 30, 1944” in Letters and Papers from Prison. Edited by J.W. de Gruchy. Translated by Isabel Best, Lisa E. Dahill, Reinhard Krauss & Nancy Lukens. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010. P. 362. [2] Ethics. Edited by Clifford J. Green. Translated by Reinhard Krauss, Charles C. West, and Douglas W. Stott. Vol. 6. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2008.P. 55.

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