For the last week or so I’ve been reading posts on social media about friends taking their sons and daughters to college for the first time. Last Sunday our preacher introduced a family who was traveling from Singapore to bring their son to begin college in the U.S. When they stood up, the whole church erupted into applause, and the smiles on the family’s faces brought a whole mix of feelings.
The son’s fears and anxiety of starting a whole new chapter of life, in a new place, with new people and new culture. And the excitement of it all.
The parents’ mix of pride at reaching this stage of their son’s life, and sadness in anticipation of leaving him, so far away from home.
Sort of a ‘Hannah traveling to dedicate Samuel’ moment.
Or an ‘Abraham leading Isaac up the mountain’ moment, however you want to look at it!
How exciting, but also how scary. Especially in light of this past weekend. Especially in the midst of brazen displays of fear and hate.
I can’t help but wonder what this young man will learn from us while he’s here, being educated at a Christian university in the United States. I pray that he’ll learn all the good things we have to offer, but undoubtedly, he’ll also pick up some of our faults as well. Sometimes learning what not to be, though, can be just as powerful, if not more so, in the formation of our character.
Here’s what I hope all of our students find in their college years –
I pray they’ll have opportunities to interact with people who are different from them in every way. I pray those conversations will frustrate them and cause them to rethink everything they’ve been taught thus far about what it means to be a Christ-follower in this world.
For only then will their faith truly be their own.
I pray they’ll come to see the uniqueness and inherent worth of every human being, made in the image of God. I pray they’ll realize the degrading limitations of stereotyping – of judging without ever taking the time to get to know each other.
For only then will they learn to love their neighbors.
And their enemies.
I pray the schools they choose to attend will empower them to be Light in this world.
At a time when Light is so badly needed.