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Present in the Wilderness

When I was in Junior High, God called my family out of the familiar, comfortable, safe life we had in Chicago and into an unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and unpredictable adventure in Orange County. That first year was a wilderness of its own. It was filled with boredom, fears and failures.

But in the wilderness of my Junior High years, I was brought into a life-changing perspective on God’s character, will and invitation to a life that I’d previously undersold. What seemed to be the worst years of my life turned out to be filled with the most life-changing surprises. God breaks us down in order to build us up again – and he builds us up again with his grace and an invitation: Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven draws near! (Matthew 3:2)

At first, I couldn’t understand how a God that loved me brought me into a season that I hated. However, what I didn’t understand is that our God loves drawing us into the wilderness for purposes we can’t fully grasp while we’re in the middle of it.

God’s people are no strangers to the wilderness. Sometimes they are driven into it for liberation from oppression (Exodus 9:1), for wandering (Numbers 32:13), for temptation (Matthew 4:1), for judgment (Ezekiel 20:35), and for redemption (Hosea 2:16-20). And while we are tempted to cry out at God’s felt absence, we discover that He has been walking with us every step of the way.

God draws us into the wilderness (Hosea 2:14), and he does so intentionally to break us down from the childish things we cling to and to offer us further and deeper into the life we have in Him. While we may have to leave things we love behind, we discover that what he gives us is so much better.

This is the good news that Jesus offers for every believer; it is the good news that every college student needs to hear again and again and again.

As we enter our College Ministry fall season, and gather around the hope, conviction, and faith that God is sovereign in the midst of the wilderness, would you join us in prayer! We will be having a season of fun, games, socializing, worship, teaching, discussion and prayer as we gather for the purpose of presenting this fall to God and his purposes for us as individuals and a community!

Ryan Lunde

College & Young Adults

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