What does it mean to follow Jesus in college? It means many things. Many sacrifices. Many values that set you apart from your peers. But it also means joy. Jesus is the one constant in this world full of changes, uncertainties, and inconsistencies.
It is interesting, sometimes it seems as though the strongest followers of Christ are those whom have gone through the greatest struggles in life. This is directly in contradticion to the belief that as soon as one gives their life to Christ, their struggles become nonexistent. This is untrue, and harmful doctrine often preached by those who teach from the “prosperity gospel”. The truth is that followers of Christ often are put under duress that the rest of society may remain oblivious of.
But doesn’t this truth contradict the claim that Jesus brings unending joy? What if joy can be found within suffering? Just as it says in Romans 5:3-5, “3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
There is hope in suffering. There is love in suffering. But unless one decides to lean on Jesus within the valley of suffering, there will only be isolation and fear to be found.
Lean on Jesus within suffering, as He has already given His life for the Beloved of the Father’s Heart. Growing and developing into the person God wants one to be will not be without challenges. It will not be without suffering. Embrace it. Embrace Jesus. Because He has already embraced you.