The other day in chapel, we had the privilege of hearing from a woman named Ann Bilbrew. If anyone walked away from her chapel talk without a tugging on their heart at the message she gave or a sense of amazement at the work God is doing through her life, I’m going to have to assume they weren’t paying attention.
Before taking the stage, Ann was introduced and described as someone who loves life, Jesus, and people. After hearing her speak, there’s not a question of doubt in my mind that those statements are true. This is a woman on fire for the Lord.
I had the opportunity to hear Ann preach not only at chapel, but at church the previous Sunday. From the beginning I had a hunch there was something special about this woman, and by the end of the service I knew without question that God was speaking through her to bring the Gospel to all those who were listening.
There’s something about Ann that personally gives me great hope. Ann is passionate about the Lord, and there’s great hope in that alone, but in this situation there’s more to the picture. Ann is a pastor for the RCA (Reformed Church in America).
Here’s a woman doing the work that I may one day be doing myself. And doing a pretty great job at it, might I add.
Ann left me with several great things to think about this week. At both church and chapel she highlighted the importance of prayer and the connection it creates between us and the Lord. Finding time for prayer is not only important, it’s necessary. College is busy and life is busy, but it’s important to slow down and take intentional time to talk with God.
I think it’s a guarantee that there will be times in anyone’s life when they aren’t as close to God as they desire to be, when they feel disconnected or distanced. Even at a Christian college, it’s easy to feel disconnected. And that’s a surprise for some people. Going to a Christian college doesn’t make you a Christian. Going to a Christian college doesn’t guarantee you’re going to have a personal relationship with Jesus. A personal relationship with Jesus is just that─it’s personal. It’s the connection you have with God and how that connection overflows into your daily life.
I’m not saying there aren’t great opportunities at Christian colleges to connect yourself with the Lord─there are─the question I’m getting at is whether or not we choose to take advantage of those opportunities. At Northwestern there are opportunities like chapel and D-groups (devotional groups), but if you pass on D-groups or go to chapel simply to sit there and get your credits, I'm guessing you won't absorb much.
Opportunities are around us at every corner─the question is if we're willing to take advantage of them.
That leads me to another great point Ann made─opportunities are all around. Those of us on campus, those of us studying, we’re young. We’ve got the life and the youth in us to go out and do great works for the kingdom. We were not created to sit still. We weren’t created to stay home and go to church every Sunday. We’ve been created for so much more.
‘Opportunities’ is one of my favorite words. [As my friends know, I’ve got quite a few favorites.] I’m one who firmly believes the Lord places opportunities before us every day. These opportunities may not always be picturesque or wow-worthy moments, but that doesn’t mean we should just casually overlook them.
As Ann pointed out, we are in our prime years. We’ve got a whole lot of life ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean we have the privilege of waiting to take any action. Why not start today? Why not open our hearts to God’s leading right now? What's holding us back?
What are we waiting for?