The anticipation before a thunderstorm rises through nature and amplifies everything around us. The wind picks up speed, the temperature rises, and you can feel the intensity of the dark clouds hanging above. Our anticipation usually doesn’t fit into the equation too well; the fear of pouring rain drenching us like falling in a pool with our clothes on usually sends us scurrying inside. My daughter Claire covers her ears every time she hears the sound, afraid the rumbling will cause her body to feel pain, the lightning a warning to her ears of the terror that is to come.
If you take a second and sit, however, and watch a storm roll in, not everything is negative. Many of us know this; the storm like God’s orchestra playing something beyond Fantasia for all of us to witness. My home as a covered porch, and sometimes I sit outside and watch as the storms roll in from the West, its lights and sounds demanding attention from all who are in its path. The light show, a tremendous achievement of nature, sends flashes through the indoors of our homes even with the blinds up, and the sound shakes even below the ground level in some instances. No, it’s the opposite of sunshine and rainbows, but there are powerful glimpses of wonder which shine through.
Just like a storm, I have found myself in awe of what has come from Campus Life.
Over the course of 2 years, there has been plenty of fear as I’ve been a part of this group. The unknown if I was going to get any students hung over me daily. The fear I wouldn’t be accepted for who I was or what I said, even before I started talking about Jesus. There was the terrifying reality I would never get funding from people to continue to do what I’m doing. All of these things hung like dark clouds rolling over my life, the winds of change pushing them at a destructive pace into my living room to deal with daily.
With all that in mind…I’ve never felt more fulfilled. Not every moment in Campus Life has been full of wonder like I hoped. The fear hasn’t left most days; it still sometimes inhibits my ability to do what I need to do, like stopping me from asking people to donate (in the middle of a pandemic) or to volunteer (seriously, we always need more people who love Jesus to come hang out with our students).
But the happiness, the joy, and the friendship have all outweighed the fears. In the midst of rain, I have found all the benefits to be things to remember, like all the memories I’ll have forever.
Even without a Florida trip this year, I’ve still seen and heard from so many students about their growth and connection to something bigger than either of us: the love of Jesus. I’ve watched as my fears of being accepted have been worthwhile at points, but the Gospel has always carried enough weight to change the people who have given it a listening ear. I have met so many people I never thought I would have, and I can’t see myself working anywhere else. The storm may not pass, but it has become a beacon of my joy to live this life as Campus Life.
I keep getting this truth from Romans 8 in my head, and I really think other people should too. “For I am persuaded, that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” How true it is! As I’m stuck at home, with all of you scrolling through this from your homes as well, I hope you know how cherished we are by the King. How my fear may be a storm but he is the overseer of every single storm which hangs over any one of us, and He has given us joy to overcome all of these obstacles.
I wonder sometimes why I took this job, and as I’m scared of what my job will look like after all the lockdown is over, I look at these photos and these conversations with students and cry like it’s the Notebook and I care about sappy love stories more than life. Please, take these moments and share them, share this concept with everyone you know! See how awesome the world has been for each one of our students as they have continued to get connected to our Campus Life teams!
And every time you see a storm, be excited for the joy that comes with it.