Experiences shared are experiences gained

November 10th, 2006 by Jeff | 3 Core Dumps

I’ve been meaning to write about this for several days now, but just haven’t found the time until now. On Monday evening, I drove down to my old alma mater where I was asked to speak at my old campus ministries group, Campus Light. I was active in C-Light almost the entire time I attended Tech, eventually serving in every office the group had. I was rather (in)famous among the group for my lengthy Bible studies; my favorite was my study on Ehud entitled “The Southpaw who Saved the Country from the King in the Bathroom.” (Maybe someday I’ll reproduce that one here for your amusement.) As a Tech and C-Light alumnus, I was on the short list of potential speakers that they wanted to invite, and my recent move back to WV made arranging a date much more feasible. While the attendance could have been better (there were no classes Tuesday due to Election Day, so a lot of students weren’t there), I did get to meet a couple of new people and enjoyed seeing some old familiar faces. I especially enjoyed being able to share a Bible study with a group again; we’re still looking for a new church here, so beyond our personal daily devotions we haven’t had much opportunity for corporate worship.

I struggled a bit in coming up with a lesson to share with them, mostly due to lack of time. (Where have we heard that before?) I thought about digging up some of my old C-Light lessons or dipping into my collected stash of Sunday School material, but then I realized that I had the perfect lesson right at hand. My experiences from the past year had plenty of life lessons for me, and there are no better lessons to share than life experiences. You may be able to reason away theology, but you can never deny someone’s personal experience. I shared with them the events of my life in 2006, emphasizing the various life transitions we went through (the baby, losing/gaining jobs, moving, buying/selling houses, etc.) and tried to tie them to recent and upcoming transitions they have/will experience (graduating high school and college).

When tying everything to scripture, I found two appropriate passages. In the first, Matthew 6:25-34, Christ informs us that we should not worry about what we will eat or wear, or what tomorrow may bring. We are the crowning achievement of God’s creation, and He cares for us more than anything else. He will provide for our needs if we trust in Him. However, the second passage, James 4:13-16, puts a different light on things. James reminds us God’s plans may be different than ours, and we should submit to His will. We shouldn’t boast about our own accomplishments and plans, but should be flexible, trusting, and understanding when His plans overshadow our own. Together, these two passages paint a larger picture. While God promises to provide for our needs, sometimes we go through dark periods, “valleys” where we are seemingly alone and unprotected, to teach us valuable life lessons and further reliance on Him. Sometimes there are lessons we must learn and grow from; other times, the experiences we gather are not for our own edification, but are to ultimately be shared with someone else to uplift, encourage, or educate someone going through a similar “valley.” In the end, God does not place more upon us than we can bear.

Fortunately, you guys get the short version of this, mostly because you’ve been reading along through most of the events as they’ve happened (or, if you haven’t, they’re archived here so you can if you so desire).

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