Thankfulness has been tough for me these past few weeks. In the aftermath of the election I have witnessed expressions of extreme intolerance and hate from members of both political parties. I have wept alongside people who feel threatened not necessarily by President-Elect Trump, but by dangerous ideologies that have been exposed and are spreading. And I have been disheartened at the division that threatens to conquer my church community, my school, my friendships, and even my family. But friends, it is times when we are most hopeless, and have the most fear, that we must remember who our God is and be thankful.
So what can I be thankful for? The first thing I’m thankful for is that EC taught me how to think for myself. I was taught that I am not merely the product of the society I was raised in, but have been uniquely designed by God with the ability to decide what I believe. At EC, I was asked about my position on topics like the death penalty, immigration and abortion and why I believed those things. I was asked to articulate my faith and to defend it. And this challenge, to ask WHY and to discern, has been especially important in college. Questions about how to treat the LGBT + community, or about sexual purity, or about how to respond to undocumented migrants are no longer theoretical but real and relevant. And I can thank EC for teaching me to make my own, faith-informed decisions.
I am also thankful for EC’s emphasis on a Christian worldview. I know it sounds cheesy, but in all earnestness, the fact that everything from academics to athletics and music are rooted in a desire to honor God is HUGE. The fact that we began classes, track meets, or musical performances in prayer, that’s HUGE. The fact that we could sit in Physics and discuss God’s grandeur or learn about the Civil Rights Movement from a Christ-oriented perspective, that’s life-forming. At the time, I know I took it for granted. But that constant practice of glorifying God in every endeavor has been incredibly formative during my time in college.
Not that we’re less intentional about faith at my school, but it’s much more your own choice. If you want to discuss faith in Literature class, sometimes you have to be the one to bring it up. If you want to pray before you lead your worship team, that’s on you. I’m incredibly grateful to EC for constantly bringing my heart and mind back to why we do things, and for whom. After all, we serve a great God, don’t we? Think about where you are right now. Maybe the friends you’re sitting next to. The family you get to go home to. The school work you’re dreading but that shapes you and strengthens your mind. We have so much to be grateful for, and a great God to be grateful to. So that’s what I’d like to leave you with this Thanksgiving. Remember who your God is, remember unique mind and countless other gifts he’s given you, and thank Him, no matter the circumstance.