In my daily work with students through the Student.Go program, I am often inspired by their “why not” attitude. When faced with an opportunity to go somewhere different, do something that matters, serve others in a meaningful way, and meet real needs in the name of Christ – for many their first response is “OK – why not! ” Then they start to consider the details – Cost, time, schedule, etc. Their initial “Yes” gives them the positive energy and motivation to tackle the “hows”. Their passion fuels their preparation. And amazingly, what may have looked like obstacles to an outsider don’t prove to be barriers at all. It usually takes some work , fortitude and a whole lot of faith – but with God’s help, they do it. They make it – and they accomplish incredible things in the name of Christ.
This past year – I’ve seen students raise their support to go to Liberia and Uganda, hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, work out a semester study experience in Central America that relates to their passion for social justice, go to Spain to learn about agriculture from African immigrants, find a way to earn enough to survive so they can serve full time in rural Arkansas, raise money for water projects, and tell a personal story of service among the poor in such a compelling way that their first choice grad school offered them a full scholarship.
Their willingness to say yes first – and deal with the obstacles later inspires me. Especially since I have lost much of that youthful optimism. I tend to see the barriers first most of the time. Part of growing up? Maybe. But what’s wrong with letting go, saying yes and trusting God? Realism is important – but realism that squelches faith is a burden that becomes the obstacle.
This Lenten season – I am challenged by these students’ examples to let go of the focus on barriers and obstacles and be free to say “Yes” to my God who prepares and provides – always!