Thursday, September 27, 2007

Man Plans and God Laughs

Tonight marks five weeks since I moved in to Wheaton College. I just stated that fact to my roommate, Sam Ostransky. His response was that it feels like a lot longer, and I agree. The past thirty-five days have been some of the most exciting of my life. I'd like to reflect on them briefly.

Thirty-six days ago I was going to bed in my childhood home in Oak Park, within a few steps of my parents and brother, and wondering what the next day would hold. Practically, of course, I knew it would involve driving out to campus, unpacking my belongings, meeting Sam and my RA, Craig Miller, and a few other orientation activities. But I was also thinking about what would happen as I transitioned into a completely new social and somewhat new spiritual environment. Over the summer, I had met a few other members of my freshman class on Facebook, and I was looking forward to meeting them. I was also looking forward to being in a distinctly, actively Christian community.

Being the task-oriented, organized person that I am, I thought that I had college life all figured out by the time I arrived. I may have, to some extent, as evidenced by the lack of major problems for me during orientation week. But, as I have realized, that attitude of thinking I was in complete control of my life was keeping me from fully experiencing what God had in store for me even in the first month of college. So He shook my life up a little bit. Allow me to give a specific example.

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were both very busy days. Monday night, I was a little worried about how I would get to all my scheduled activities (a few more than usual) and complete all my homework and practicing in the time I had. I was also suffering from a slight cold, which meant that I was trying to get through busier than usual days with less than the usual amount of energy.

So Monday night, before I went to bed, I asked God to help me get through the next two days. I think it was in that moment that I stopped worrying about how I would do that and started trusting God to take care of everything. And, praise God, He did. It's almost ironic: the minute I stopped worrying about how I would get everything done, I was able to do just that. I was able to get to all my classes, rehearsals, and meetings, get all my homework done, and even have some time to enjoy the company of my friends.

Letting go of the control I have over my life has always been a struggle for me. I have a natural tendency to want everything planned, defined, identified, and free of complications. Quite obviously, life is very rarely like that (even in pure mathematics you have variables!), so I've had more than the usual amount of frustration when life doesn't go the way I'd like it to. Sometimes I try to do things my way even when I know that God would have me do it a different way. In those times, I often find myself failing, but God is always ready to restore me and lead me back to the path he has for me.

Giving God control of my life is something I've been doing little by little since I became a Christian almost six years ago. Going to college has definitely triggered a substantial amount of letting go on my part, and as a result, God has blessed me richly. He has given me wonderfully supportive friends and teachers, not to mention my unendingly supportive family back home. He has given me physical, emotional, intellectural, and spiritual strength when I thought I had none. And He has given me a little taste of the future He has in store for me. I truly believe that it was by the perfect will of God alone that I am here at Wheaton College, and I truly believe that He will use my time here in ways that are better than I could ever have imagined. I long to be the man of Christ that God has designed me to be, and I know that as I surrender to Him, He will continue to mold me into His image.

The verse that has defined my life for the past few years is First Timothy 1:12: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who gave me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service." My prayer on this five-week mark is that God alone would receive the glory from my accomplishments here at Wheaton College.

This is Rubio, over and out.

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