“There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people”
Gilbert Keith G. K. Chesterton
Here are seven common challenges you’ll encounter whilst at University, solved through the teachings of scripture.
2. Drift: [Curiosity]:
Back in 2006, during the May half-term, my family and I took a 10 hour transatlantic flight over ‘the pond’ to Orlando, Florida! Home to the very best rollercoasters in the world. Universal Studios to Tilikum, the poor old SeaWorld Whale, you name it, we saw it. Nine-year old Will had a blast that Summer, until his glasses got nicked in a random amusement arcade; after which he couldn’t really see much, not even Goofy and Pluto bounding up to him in Disneyland, giving him quite the fright, “GAWRSH!”. In and amongst all this was a waterpark called Blizzard Beach. It was SO epic, it had slides coming out of its ears, tidal waves the size of Everest and the longest blue lagoon imaginable which transported my sun-kissed body around for what felt like an eternity.
As you glance over this blog today, I wonder whether you’re on your own lazy river this university semester? Drifting without end can feel all but too real as academic timetables, club responsibilities and community commitments, show no sign of easing up. But is a student routine relentless or is it just repetitive? And therefore, is drifting a cause of the sweeping cycle of events or is it a students disinclination to break free from these rhythmic and measured tides? Perhaps the drift you’re experiencing is less lazy and much deeper than just being caught up in the patterns of university life. Wherever you’re at, particularly as Christians, we can all agree spiritual apathy is real and can infiltrate the way we perceive, feel and act towards God.
In the book, ‘A Call Less Ordinary’, Rich Wilson pinpoints the first question God asks in Genesis which is echoed throughout the whole of scripture and into our very lives today. God says to you and I, ’Ayeka’, meaning, ‘Where are you?”. Not physically, it’s not a game of cat and mouse. Not emotionally, He already knows and is not needy either. Simply, this is a query regarding proximity. Out of ardent concern and a deep yearning for relationship, He asks you, today, ‘Where are you in relation to me?’.
Far Disconnected Managing Lost
Distant Removed Disengaged. Cast Out Disillusioned Quashed
Detached Isolated Shut off Burnt Separated Frustrated
Remote Disenchanted Let Down
Lord, I have felt [Insert here]. This has been a cause of my drift.
But I have also tied you down to ways of thinking, being and doing…
Let me accept where I have placed you beyond reach…
Let me recognise who I have defined you to be…
Let me acknowledge how I have restricted you…
You are so much more…
No matter the present day, I have your eternal power and love, a wonderful treasure in jars of clay. Take me back to the time I first experienced the warmth and closeness of Your presence. From here, bring me into a place of re-commitment, of rediscovering greater intimacy and proclaiming You in all your majesty.
But friends, re-alignment may start with prayer, but we are also required to continue being active in our responsibility and becoming a partner in play! Jason Upton, worship leader at David’s Tent, said this in a seminar I attended: ‘God is like the seven year old who is promised by his parent a trip to the local nature reserve to explore and play but is left waiting for their parent to stop holding off”. Note, it’s not Him who has grown old, it is us who has grown old; He does not grow weary. Therefore, let us be intentional as we dive deeper into adventure; as we develop the relationship between curiosity and play. You see, as we become increasingly curious of God, the more we will long to play with Him. And as we further engage in His play, the more our curiosity draws us closer to seeing God in all His splendour and glory.
Curiosity drifts us into greater relation and proximity with the Father.
God, my God, why have you forsaken me? [C]
Why are you so far from saving me?
Yet, you are enthroned as the Holy One; [S]
You are the one Israel praises,
In you our ancestors put their trust,
They trusted and you delivered them
Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel! [R]
For He has not despised or scorned
The suffering of the afflicted one;
He has not hidden his face from him
But has listened to his cry for help.
For those in more sensitive waters, take comfort in the familiar, chronological structures of the Psalms. David in Psalm 22 honestly communicates how he feels to God, mirroring the reality of our own tribulations, but shows through prayerful wrestling, heart posture can change from one of dismay to curiosity [C], submission [S] and reverence [R]. Know the covenant relationship we attain in God gives us license to bring everything to Him. The good and the bad. Therefore, like David, let us lay down and begin the search. As this happens, the faithful promises of old will inform the fresh revelations of today, highlighting to us who God really is and can be when we’re being tossed, turned and thrown in the middle of great hardship
Here, once again, we see curiosity drift us into greater relation and proximity with the Father.