I have just completed my senior year at Welch College. No, I did not graduate as I still need to take a few remaining courses. This semester was one of my most blessed and most challenging yet. I was blessed to serve as a society president for a second term. I was also privileged to serve with Mr. Matthew McAffee with Campus Church responsibilities. These are undoubtedly unique experiences, but nothing in comparison to what I learned about the Father this semester. Here are some things I learned in the 2015-2016 school year.
1.) God cares for His children. He really cares.
Following a discouraging season in my life, one of my best friends reminded me that God cared. He told me that God did not want His children to be miserable. The creator, redeemer, and sustainer over all creation cares deeply for His children. I can think of no greater encouragement than that. Thank you Mike for sharing God’s word as he had laid it on your heart. For my readers, you should take a moment to meditate on this passage of Scripture.
 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV)
2.) Grace really is beautiful.
From past due assignments to extensions on my student account I have seen God’s grace displayed among the wonderful faculty at Welch. One assignment was extremely late but my teacher encouraged me to do it the final week of school. This swayed my grade from a B to an A. I told my instructor, “I will do this assignment if you really want me to, but I do not deserve this opportunity.” He simply responded, “Do it!”. I was given a chance I didn’t deserve.
That is precisely what Jesus has done for us. He has given us a chance that we did not deserve. Now we stand in this grace. We are literally swimming in an ocean of grace. (Romans 5:1-2)
My Nashville pastor likes to think of God’s grace like the chips and salsa you are given at a Mexican restaurant. Any Mexican restaurant worth its queso WILL NOT allow you to run out of chips and salsa. I think this is a fun illustration. Thanks Pusch!
3.) God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He himself is good.
If I have quoted this verse once, I have quoted it multiple times. Not only did I learn that God cares, but I also learned that He is good, despite our sometimes troubling circumstances. God is the giver of life, not death. Satan wants us to self-destruct, but Jesus wants to give us life abundant and free. (John 10:10) The following verse could be very well be my favorite for the time being.
 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
Not only is God good, but He doesn’t change. I change, but He does not. What a great truth for us to rest our lives upon.
4.) God created us to live in community: we need friends.
In Genesis 1 we learn that God created Adam, but found that it was not fitting for him to be alone. He created Eve as a helper for Adam. Most of the time this passage refers to the beautiful union between one man and woman in marriage. Even so, it seems okay to conclude that we were also made for community. Mr. F. Leroy Forlines claims that there are four basic relationships for the human person:See Quest for Truth.
A.) God: the most important relationship is one’s vertical relationship with the Creator.
B.) Self: We must view ourselves as image bearers of God. We are the unique point in God’s creation.
C.) Others: We were not made to do life alone. We need friends.
D.) Created Order: Christians should be at the front of the line when it comes to taking care of this earth God created.
Some of the most important people in my life are Mike, Andrew, and Zach. These guys have held me up through difficult times and they have encouraged me to persevere in the good times. Aside from our coffee time together, we occasionally enjoy some chicken from McDougal’s. Some of that would be amazing about now. I love you guys and greatly appreciate your friendship. We need each other, so stay in touch.
5.) You are not the only one who is going through a difficult time.
This semester I came to realize that other students hurt and struggle as well. There is not a single person who does not feel the bitter sting of sin’s curse on all that we do. (or don’t do.) There were many times I was given an opportunity to be an encouragement to another student. Thank you for sharing your issues with me. It is encouraging to know that we are not in the battle alone.
Take a moment and invest in those around you. You will not regret it. They need your encouragement. You need theirs.
There is nothing more amazing than this journey of faith. God will supply the strength you need for this pilgrimage. Thank you for joining me in praising the Father for his work throughout my journey.
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