As you ready yourselves for a historic academic week at GCC, I want to offer you a few words of encouragement. Brenda and I found ourselves fighting back tears several times this week as we watched you depart knowing the depth and breadth of loss you were experiencing. Torn away from cherished friendships and beloved professors, canceled sports and performances, interrupted projects – the list of disappointments is long and sad. Our campus has never been quieter, which is not how it should be.
What possible good can this painful experience produce for us? The apostle Paul tells us that for those who love God all things work together for good (Rom 8:28). We don’t know when and how this promise will reveal itself to us, but my experience through life’s most difficult trials is that the good is evident often before we might expect. In this season of great difficulty, and it is just a season, followers of Christ will see his goodness revealed in different ways depending on their own circumstances.
Those who are standing at the threshold of adult life contemplating career paths, marriage, new places to live, and much more, have an opportunity to learn a critically important truth, something very good, in this crisis. The truth is this: we are called to live lightly in this life. We should be extremely thankful for all the temporal blessings we enjoy and seek them in appropriate ways, but we must not let them own us. Their presence or absence in our lives should not control our joyfulness. In 2 Cor 4:14-18, Paul writes, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comprehension, as we look not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
As we transition this week to distance learning with obvious limitations, we can appreciate more significantly the value of a Christian liberal arts education. At the core of our mission is to prepare you to live lightly by guiding you in the way of truth – the treasures of knowledge and wisdom. We aim much higher than the goal of preparation for future material comforts. We seek to learn genuine contentment in every circumstance and to pursue that which is good, true and beautiful. If we can muddle through this together and come out in the end with a much clearer understanding of what matters most in this world, then we will be blessed to see the good in this challenging experience.
Striving to live lightly,