“However much you’ve prepared beforehand,” my friend warned, “the first day at university will still be an overwhelming experience.” I wasn’t sure why she thought something as innocuous as a university could be overwhelming, but I told her that since I’d done all right in high school, I was sure I’d manage university just fine.
The movie Shenandoah is set during the American Civil War. It’s a moving story of a Southern family caught up in the conflict of the day. The patriarch of the family, Charlie Anderson, continually shuts down the urges of his sons who want to join the war. Charlie wants to remain neutral and uninvolved until the war actually touches his family.
Living a Christian’s life in today’s complex and intricate world can seem quite difficult. So many things demand our attention on a moment-by-moment basis. Most of them aren’t bad, but they take our time and can keep us from growing in our faith.
Yet we all know people who seem to have found a way to balance the conflicts of modern life, and of course, countless Christians before us have been successful in their times as well. So what’s the secret? Just as we must eat, breathe, and exercise in order to grow physically, there are three essentials to spiritual growth.
Well, not literally. I can explain.
At the start of last year, I made a resolution to not purchase any new clothes or shoes that year. I had a combination of reasons for that:
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:7
If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.—John Bunyan (1628–1688)
One typical rainy spring evening in Rijeka, I was sitting on bus number 18 going home after a long day—at least, I thought it was bus 18. There were about 30 other passengers on the bus, equally tired and impatient to get home.
As we reached a crossroads, instead of turning right as usual, the bus took a left. Did I get on the wrong bus? I was about to ask when other passengers started shouting to the bus driver, “Where are you going?” So at least I was on the right bus after all.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Why am I here in this life? What does it all mean to me personally?” This is a common question, especially when we’re going through difficult times.
Of course, we know that God has placed us here to love Him and others.1 However, when we are faced with our own unique set of experiences that are part of our personal journey, it can sometimes be challenging to find meaning in all the things that come at us. That’s where we run up against brick walls every so often. We need an outside perspective from Someone who can see the full picture when we can’t.