I’m a senior in college, and I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. I sometimes experience waves of anxiety related to my future, especially as May draws near. But looking back at my four years at Union, I see clearly how God works in and through us even when we don’t realize it. He is sovereign and promises to guide his children even in those moments when we are completely unaware that he is directing our steps.
On Sept. 9, 2011, I wrote a perspective for the Cardinal&Cream about this very thing. I decided to re-post the article in hopes that it might be an encouragement to brothers and sisters who, like me, are continually learning to trust in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness.
I remember pulling up to campus two years ago, eyes wide with expectation and stomach lurching with anxiety. I could clearly see the bell tower, the centerpiece of campus and the emblem of all of my hopes for the next four years. As my family and I pulled into the parking lot, which was filled with people ready to welcome me to my new home, I focused on the practicality of the move, rather than the abstract realization that the rest of my life was wrapped in that solitary moment. It did not hit me that my life had completely changed until I lay in my new bed that night and realized my parents were already two states away, I was alone in an unknown place and I was surrounded by people I did not know and who did not know me.
As I lay there that night, I became overwhelmed by the decisions I knew were ahead of me. I came to Union uncertain of my calling, unsure of what I would study or what I would do with the next four years. I consoled myself with the simple truth that God was in control, and that he would lead me down the road I was intended to follow. I fell asleep that night comforted that our God is sovereign.
But as the days passed and the decision about a major became more imminent, my faith faltered and my hope faded. Life got confusing. Situations grew complicated. My myopic view of the world caused me to believe that my decision about a major and my future was one that would make me or break me. I had focused so much on finding God’s will in the big decisions that I had forgotten to follow Jesus step by step.
This newfound understanding took time to develop. But as each day morphed into the next, God began to teach me what it means to be a true disciple. God does not just call us to seek his will in the big decisions. He calls us to replace our will with his every moment of every day. The Bible does not command us to take up our cross once. It says to do so daily.
Living the Christian life is not about choosing a major. It is not about picking a spouse. It is not about finding out whether we should go to medical school or law school or be a social worker or an entrepreneur. Finding our calling is important, but it is not the essence of the Christian life. The most important choice we face is whether or not we will follow Jesus through the mocking crowds with a cross on our backs and hope in our hearts. The Christian life is about choosing to be obedient every moment of every day, in every word, deed, thought and action. God does not call us to be obedient only in life’s forks in the road, but in the very essence of who we are.
If I could go back to my first night at Union when I lay in my new bed overwhelmed by the prospects of the future, I would have reminded myself of a picture God has shown me in more recent months.
The Christian life is a lot like a puzzle. All throughout our lives, we are presented with little puzzle pieces, which may come in the form of lessons or encouragement or people or discoveries. Sometimes the pieces are given to us. Sometimes we have to reach for them. And yet, other times it seems as if they are thrust right under our noses. Regardless of the way in which we receive them, puzzle pieces make little sense on their own. But as the pieces begin to fall into place, we get a little glimpse of the big picture.
Life is just like that. God does not give us the complete puzzle all at once. He gives us piece by piece, teaching us patience and trust and hope and endurance as we learn to eagerly and obediently put the pieces together.