“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
This issue of the Prattler, the school magazine, is all about Pratt’s identity as a campus: how do Pratt students identify themselves.
In Critical Thinking & Writing, we’re discussing how language effects one’s identity.
In other classes, they’re talking about how to create an identity.
We’re constantly reading books in which people are searching for their identity in their circumstances, in their man or woman, in their career, in their abilities.
This morning, the verse in my devotional was John 15:4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” But then later this afternoon while I was in Critical Thinking & Writing, I realized how applicable it was. We were once again talking about identity, about where we find our identity…things like race, forms of communication, history, and culture were all mentioned…but not once did anyone hint at Jesus. I’ve been trying to systematize identifying myself without even realizing it. See, in my new Critical Thinking & Writing class, everybody is so laid back and, well, normal, I guess, that I didn’t notice we were discussing the exact same things I was struggling with last semester. We’re still discussing how to figure out this identity crisis, still trying to answer the big questions of life, still looking for a way to simplify and achieve our goal of knowing who we are and what our purpose is in the world.
Duh! How did I not see that?
While I was sitting there, observing how my professor discussed language and how it effects our day and our perception of ourselves, I suddenly wondered how different our discussion would be if everyone in the room had their identity rooted in Christ. I wondered if they knew how often God thought about each and every one of them. I wondered if they knew how infinitely precious they are in His eyes. And then I sat there wondering how to communicate it to them. But before I could devise anything, I was nudged by the Holy Spirit as if to be reminded, “Only when I give you the opportunity.” I inwardly stomped my foot, frustrated that so much time was passing by and I wasn’t able to do what I wanted. But God’s timing is perfect. He’s right; I can’t just irrelevantly burst out with the message of the gospel or a biblical argument for morality in the middle of class. I have to wait for the right moment…*sigh.*
With this observation I made another. As you all know (from the heart shaped donuts, the infectious colors of pink, red, and white, the corny “Love is never late; love arrives precisely when it means to!” nerd cards), Valentine’s Day is coming up. Well, in my dorm and around campus, all I see, all the time, is “Sex Time,” “Classes on How to Hook Up Safely,” and so on. There are other things but I won’t mention them here. I feel like people, in college especially, find their identity in doing what they want. I feel like people have just completely lost the whole point of sex and the innocence of Valentine’s Day (disregarding the rather gruesome history of the holiday). Sex was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as a way for a man and a woman to enjoy one another within the covenant relationship of marriage. Call me old-fashioned, but there ya go. I was thinking of maybe asking if the posters and such could be taken down, but I can bet I’m the only one who will ask. It’s just a bummer. I want to enjoy Valentine’s Day. I love seeing people who are genuinely in love and staying pure in their relationship, because it means they actually care about each other. It’s easy to just let your hormones go and do whatever you want with one another. It’s difficult to have self-control and self-respect. America has found its identity, no longer in pride of country, camaraderie, and God, but in doing whatever it wants, saying whatever it wants, and getting whatever it wants. Don’t believe me? Turn on your television, step onto a busy city street, walk into a McDonalds’; there are posters saying, “Unwind in Indulgence,” “You deserve it,” “Just do what makes you happy.”
Okay, my rant is over. Sorry.
God blessed me today through my Aunt Joan and Uncle Jason. I went to the mail and found I had a package. When I opened it, there was a box of ten red velvet whoopie pies individually wrapped. Just looking into the box made me feel five pounds heavier. It wasn’t the treat that made me excited though; whenever I get packages or letters, it’s not even what’s in them, but rather the thought that the person who sent it had thought of me lovingly and had taken the time to sit down and write the letter or put the package together. I felt really happy 🙂
I ate one and then gave one to Charlene and a bunch of the girls in my dorm, including Bree, who greatly appreciated the treat. The treat put a smile on all of their faces as well, and I suddenly didn’t feel so frustrated anymore.
I began working on homework, eating dinner and sipping on Vitamin Water. As I was checking my email, I saw that my Mom had sent me something. Jimmy’s friend, Peter, who’s in seventh grade, was diagnosed with Wilson’s disease. Wilson’s disease is a genetic disorder that handicaps the body in the act of getting rid of extra copper. A little bit of copper in your body is healthy, but too much copper is poisonous, and builds up in the liver and other areas of the body. He’s on a waiting list for a liver transplant and the hospital he’s at is giving him medication, but there’s only a 1% chance it’ll work.
When I got the email, though I had expected it, I cried. I got angry for a moment. I thought “It’s not fair,” “Why are You letting this happen to Peter?”
But then I remembered God loves Peter. I remembered that it’s not God’s will for His loved ones to suffer. But because there’s a massively uncontrollable and unmeasurable amount of sin in the world, there is incurable sickness, there is suffering, there is pain, there is cruelty. But it’s not because of God.
So instead of staying angry, I bowed my head and prayed. I prayed for Peter. I prayed for Jimmy. I prayed for Peter’s family. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but if a miracle doesn’t happen, then I have to trust that God is going to sustain Peter’s family in the loss, and that He’s going to give me the strength to be there for Jimmy. Please pray for Peter.
It just seems like so many painful things are happening in the Sticks while I’m gone, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it….but I suppose there’s a reason for that. I guess God can take care of people while I’m gone…I guess He’s, ya know, big enough and powerful enough to save Peter, to heal him…I guess God is great enough to love my family…I guess God is strong enough to do it….right. He is big and powerful enough; He is great enough, and oh yes He is strong enough. It’s just hard.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” —Revelation 21:4