Audrey Branham, contributing writer.
With approximately 3 weeks left of our Spring 2022 semester here at Oklahoma Baptist University, there are many of us who are lagging and struggling to that light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us are burnt out and trying to make it through the last of our tests and assignments to that sweet summer break soon to be had, but still not yet here. For seniors, it might be especially bitter-sweet. To be finally done with your undergrad but moving on from a campus community and into the scary world of adulthood.
While we are in this temporary time of struggling towards that close respite, take heart at the closeness of the rest and the short time you have left to go. This semester might have been life-changing for you, it might have been the hardest academic challenge yet or it might have been the hardest time in your life yet. Wherever you are, whether a freshman or a senior, know that rest is coming, but more is still asked of you after that. It is hard and exhausting to keep in mind all that you have to do, maybe that is three more years of your undergrad, maybe it is the next two years of an internship post-graduation or maybe it is the rest of your life that you don’t know what to do with.
It can be exhausting, or it can be invigorating. Looking at our best example of Christ in his ministry and his mission to bring us back to himself there are many examples and encouragements he gives us in our mission of endurance. In Mark 1:35-39 (NIV) we see Jesus’ main way that he kept focused and determined towards his goal: He spent individual time with God the Father. At the beginning of his ministry, we see Jesus spending secluded time with his Father in prayer.
It was so individual that he left the town he was staying in so that his disciples had to come and find him. We see this again in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is about to go to the cross and take on all the sins of the world to accomplish his goal of bridging the gap between humanity and God. Luke 22:39-46 (NIV) says that Jesus was in agony, so much so that “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” In preparation for his greatest hardship, what did he do?
Did he bare down and sweat through it? Did he make a ten-step plan? Did he rely on his disciples and his family? No. Instead, he went directly to his heavenly Father and told him about how much he did not want to endure the cross even though that was his mission. He was honest with God, but he ended with, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). This is a picture of how we can endure not only the end of a hard long academic year, but any storm that rains or any tragedy that strikes.
Like Jesus, when things are routine and we are doing alright, making time and creating a habit of going to and spending time with the Lord creates an easier path to healing and rest when a tragedy hits. It is much easier to retire to your stronghold when a storm comes if you have walked the route before because when the night comes, you might need to find it in the dark. Do not wait until you are on your last leg, seek God and a relationship with Him now, because he is the only stronghold that will stand against anything this world could throw at you.