“I Trust in You” by Kerrick van Asselt

“But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand;
    deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
    save me in your steadfast love.” (Psalms 31: 14-16)

 

Night is upon us. Clouds settle in, stifling in the dark.

The path no longer lit; the way no longer clear.

We blindly stumble forward;

Seeking what? We are not sure.

Rocks lie underfoot; turning ankles, slicing skin.

Yet onward we must go, for it is all we know.

There are some who move against us, their path leading other ways.

People pushing past us, we are bumped, spun,

lost.

We are lost.

Where do we turn? How do we find our path again?

What is that?

                   It’s a whisper.

No. It is THUNDER.

                       It’s a soft breeze.

It is a RAGING STORM.

It is a voice.

A voice.

A voice rings out, cries out, whispers, weeps, calls…

Follow me.

I am the way.

I am the way? Who would say such a thing?

We look around us, crying out, “Who is there? Where are you?”

It is I.                                        Be still.

I am here.                               Follow me.

We hear this and we know. We know that this is why we are here.

This is why we blindly stumble; because we do not know this voice.

“We are here,” we cry. “We will follow you; show us the way!”

All at once it’s like our eyes are opened; we feel warmth spreading through our chests.

The clouds are still there, it’s true, but now they no longer stifle us.

They no longer block the light. We see. The moon! The stars! The sun!

And there! Lit brightly like a beacon before us, our path!

Our bodies tingle. What is this warmth? Love? Is this Love?

It is I.

We hear it again; and suddenly, we know.

We know. We feel. We see. And we love.

This.

This is God.

 

Photo made available by Motoki Tonn via Unsplash

“The Greatest Gift” by Kerrick van Asselt

I want you to take a moment and imagine a child waking up on Christmas morning. Watch this child open up a particularly large present, and inside is the bike they’ve always wanted. Can you feel their energy and excitement? Their overwhelming joy? That immediate longing to take the bike outside for a ride?

Isn’t this exactly how we as Christians should feel every morning? Every single day we wake up to find that we have received the greatest gift of all—the grace of God and the knowledge that our sins are forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus. Shouldn’t this fill us with complete joy? Shouldn’t we have a desire to go out and live fully in that grace? Each morning we have an amazing opportunity to go out and live beautiful and meaningful lives in Christ, so shouldn’t we want to fully embrace that newness of life?

But what is this grace? Grace isn’t a “get out of jail free” card that allows us to do whatever we want. Today’s passage from Romans tells us that as followers of Jesus, we can no longer live in sin. Instead, we are called to live in Christ and do our best to live like Christ. And grace is what is there to pick us up when our best isn’t enough. We all make mistakes, but God’s grace forgives them all. And that is what makes this gift that we have received even more amazing than anything we could ever earn.

 

Photo made available by freestocks.org via Unsplash

“Surviving Friends University: Community is the Key” by Kerrick van Asselt

C- Care. Care for everyone around you. Care for yourself. Care for the Earth. Care for the things you do. Care about your schoolwork. Care about going to class, and doing well in class. Care about your classmates and professors. Care about how you are doing, and know when you need to recharge. Care about who you are and what you bring into the world. Just care.

 

O- Open up. Find the people you can trust, and be willing to be vulnerable with them. Love and trust them, and let them do the same for you. Life is going to be incredibly lonely if you stick to yourself. College is the perfect time to reach out to those around you. I guarantee you’ll find someone that you relate to is some way or another. Get to know people, find people and learn their stories, and tell them yours. Open your eyes to the beauty of the people around you.

 

M- Meet people. Learn how to initiate conversation and introduce yourself. Join clubs and go to events. Say hello to people, and be willing to get to know them, you never know who might become your best friend. Be willing to offer a smile to a stranger. Say hello to people when you pass in the hall, instead of just texting. Go get coffee with people. Go as to sit down at the dinner table with a random person in Casado. Get out there and find the light in the people around you.

 

M- Mean it. Be honest. Learn to listen. Be present. Don’t be afraid to put down your phone, turn off the video games and go live in the world every now and then, you’ll be amazed at what you find. Live fully, don’t be apathetic, dive in and embrace everything you do, from your schoolwork to your hobbies.

 

U- Understand. Know that everyone is different: we all have our own stories. Be willing to listen and hear other people’s and realize that it’s not just okay to be different: it’s amazing. Everyone is their own person with their own thoughts and beliefs and backgrounds. You are your own person, so let others be their own person, and learn to love them through that.

 

N- Nice. Be nice. Just be kind to everyone you meet. Everyone has crap they’re going through, don’t make it worse. Learn to love the people around you. Pick up trash and be nice to the Earth. Give people a smile. Hug your family. High five your friends, or random strangers. Do your part in bringing light to this world.

 

I- Invest. Find close friends, and invest in them. Find the groups, teams, and jobs on campus that you love, and invest in them. Be willing to give your time and effort. It’s worth it. You only get out what you put in. YOGOWYPI. Super cliche, but even more true. You’re only here once, might as well take advantage of it.

 

T- Trust God. God is amazing. It’s completely incomprehensible. God is huge. God is everything. Trust that God knows what’s going on in your life and that there are things happening that are beyond your control or comprehension. And that it is good.

 

Y- Yes. Say yes. But in moderation. Take advantage of some of the amazing opportunities life offers. Face your fears. Take risks. It’s never too late to start living. Some of the best memories of your time in college are going to be the times you said yes to a random adventure with your friends, or when you decided to join that club that interested you. Join choir or band or theater, you never know who you might end up meeting that could become your best friend for life. Join the sports teams, be a part of the brother and sisterhoods here on campus.

 

And as a bonus tip: Don’t forget to Love. Love is the key to all of this. Love of self, neighbor, the world, God, school, work, etc. Love is the answer. Love is the key. Love is. Love.

 

Photo made available by Baim Hanif via Unsplash

“My Heart Weeps” by Kerrick van Asselt

My heart weeps.

My soul aches.

So much pain.

So much violence in the world.

Schools being shot up, children being torn from their homes.

 

Why do people do this?

Why respond with hate?

This way is not the answer.

This way will never work.

Violence leads to violence.

Fear will lead to hate.

 

We are killing our own family,

Taking their futures away from them.

 

How long can we go on like this?

How long before we realize?

Hatred’s not the answer,

Nor should it ever be.

 

We teach our kids that violence can solve their problems,

It’s in our games, our movies, our jokes.

It’s become so ingrained in us,

It’s become so accepted.

 

WHY?

 

When will we realize that what we need is love?

Just look at the effect that giving a smile has on people.

Think about how powerful a hug can be.

 

When will we wake up and see the desperate need for peace?

An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.

 

When will we be able to move past our fear of the unknown?

When will we be able to embrace, not just accept, but embrace our differences?

It takes a village. A village of people with different skills.

It takes opening ourselves up to being pushed by people with different opinons.

 

This is what we need.

This is what the world needs.

This is what we are called to do.

To make peace.

 

Photo made available by Gabriele Diwald via Unsplash

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