So that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. Ephesians 1:18-19
I met one of my college friends for lunch recently. He told me that day about the ways that his college experience is not what he thought it would be. Some of the bumps in the road have come from choices he made and others have come from things out of his control, things he only found out after he was in the experience. It was good to be with him and I was glad he could tell me about the disappointments.
I spend time each week praying for, texting and talking with our friends who are away at college. While they have had successes and times of triumph, there are also disappointments and struggles as things are not what was expected or hoped for. Every one of our college friends has had to face difficulties or hardships along the way.
What I pray for each one of them, every week, is that they do not lose heart or believe that because things are hard, that God is not with them. I pray that they will always know, that though they may have made a mistake or a decision they wish they could do over, there is nothing that cannot be redeemed in God’s great love and nothing that cannot be used by God to bring them forward into the life of grace and fullness that God has for them.
Our world loves success stories and even in the church, we often hear those stories as celebrations of God’s presence and power. However, I think we may do our kids a disservice by emphasizing the successful all the time if it gives the impression that God is most present when things are going well. It’s almost like we forget that Joseph was an ex-con or Moses, a murderer, or King David, an adulterer. God was right there when each of those men were at their low-point and his power and presence brought them through that to fulfill the plans God had for their lives.
So, even as our dear ones cope with the hard things they may be discovering about the world and themselves, I pray that they will not lose hope in the God who is able to do more than they could ever ask or imagine. Please join me in prayers for all our young people in college, that they would continue to follow hard after Jesus and turn to God for help and guidance and the strength that they need to face the challenges and work that they confront each day. And that every day, whether it’s a happy-go-lucky day or a challenging one, they would be strengthened through the Holy Spirit to trust and believe in the One who is their hope and their light.