By Jacquelyn Eubanks
I just spent all of Friday and Saturday night, a total of twelve hours, studying for one exam. And they call this fun? Weren’t we told college was supposed to be the best years of our lives? Weren’t we promised it would be better than high school, that it would be boundless freedom and friends and fun? Wasn’t it just a few months (or years) ago that we walked at graduation, diploma in hand, thinking confidently to ourselves, “I’m going to conquer the world!” Now look at us – we spend each day doing nothing but reading textbooks, writing papers, and studying for exams; meanwhile, our Instagram feed is bombarded by photos of our friends at a party with their new squad, with their latest boyfriend, traveling the world, or doing missionary work.
We grit our teeth, stifling the cries of frustration and despairing tears as we end yet another day of classes, homework, sleep, repeat. Hollow and depressed, we turn our bleary eyes to God and shout, “Why did you bring me out here, just to let me die?” (Exodus 14:11). We believed that when we gave our lives to Christ, He would do great things in us and through us. We thought we were promised a life to the full – full of joy, love, adventure, and purpose. But this? This everyday lackluster routine of endless homework, papers, tests, assigned reading? This can’t be the full life you meant for us. This can’t be all there is. My God, you wouldn’t lead us out of Egypt just to let us die in the wilderness – you wouldn’t abandon me – I went exactly where you told me to go! You promised!
It often feels like we must be doing something wrong, or that maybe we misread the signs and this isn’t where God called us to be. God wouldn’t call us to be somewhere that makes us miserable, right?
But here’s the thing we often forget: we live in the Resurrection. Indeed, because Christ has risen from the dead, so we too have done so with Him. So if we live in the Resurrection, every day is supposed to be joy-full, purpose-full, adventure-full, and love-full. Isn’t that what the Resurrection means? Isn’t that the very promise that comes from it?
Let’s take a look at what really happened when Jesus came back from the dead:
“He presented Himself alive to them by many proofs after He had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak”…When they had gathered together they asked Him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight…Then they returned to Jerusalem.” (Acts 1:3-4, 6-9,12)
See, when Jesus came back from the dead, the apostles (being Jewish) thought that meant it was go-time: Jesus suffered, but now He’s back and He’s going to kick the Romans outta here, establish the Kingdom of Israel again just like old times, and be our Eternal King. Right, Jesus? Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen when the Messiah comes?
Instead, they’re told to head back to Jerusalem – the very city full of people who just killed Jesus and are seeking to kill them next – and wait around for some mystical spirit to come, before they can even do anything. And oh, yeah, they’re told to not even ask when God’s going to bring back the promised kingdom, or how long it’ll take for this Holy Spirit thing to show up. Come to mention it, Jesus, why are you leaving us in the first place? Didn’t you just get back from being dead? Where are you going? You’re supposed to stay here, with us! You were supposed to help us rebuild the kingdom!
So the apostles’ expectations were not met, their plans were totally shot, and they were told to sit and wait around for – for what? Something ‘promised’ to happen? They thought the promised thing was the reestablishment of Israel! Why is Jesus making them spend each day doing nothing of any meaning for an indefinite period of time? It’s not fair!
We are the apostles waiting in Jerusalem for the Father’s promise to be fulfilled.
We go day after day running on nothing but faith, trusting in the promise God gave us before we arrived on campus. He told us to come here. We shall not give in to doubt. He promised us joy, love, adventure, fulfillment. We shall not believe the lie that He has abandoned us. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), hoping against hope that He will bring the good works He began in us to completion and deliver on the promises He made.
My dear fellow college women in Christ, we are being perfected in faith. Real courage, real stamina, real faith comes from believing in our Lord despite living in the pits of daily darkness. Real faith is hoping against hope that even though you’re stuck at college while everybody else is having the time of their lives, god is still with you, making all things work for good, even when we can’t see or feel it. Why do you think Jesus praised Blind Bartimaes for his faith? It’s because He trusted in Jesus, even when He couldn’t see the evidence to prove it.
My darling, you are blessed to live in such darkness right now. You know why? Because it means you have true faith that’s being tested like gold in fire. Boast in Christ for giving you such faith, and such an opportunity to show Him that faith. I know it’s hard right now, but Christ is fighting for us. We must continue forward in faith, trusting in Him who is victorious to lead us to our own victory through whatever cross we currently bear. Jesus says to us, “In this world you will have trouble, but take courage; I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)