On August 21, 2019, Shorter University senior Noah Hunt served as the representative from the class of 2020 to address the faculty and student body of Shorter University at our convocation chapel. The editorial staff of Transformed was so impressed with his speech that we asked for his permission to include an excerpt on the blog so that others might be encouraged through his words.

Eugene Peterson, a great lover of the heart of God, summarized well the message of Hebrews when he wrote, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So, let’s walk right up to him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” The season of education will sometimes be a struggle between bearing ourselves or abiding in the new morning mercies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The struggle is to be expected. In a fallen world, the things worth obtaining are bought at a price. Abundant life, confidence, freedom and glorious joy; these are things which humankind, in all our striving, can never, despite our best of intentions and efforts, secure for ourselves. Galatians chapter three tells us that Christ Jesus paid the price to free us from the curse of futility and striving so that we might have His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not one of defeat, but one anchored in blessed assurance. It is the assurance of the LORD’s servant Job when he cries out in anguish, “Even if you kill me, God, I will hope in You!”

Students, in your hardest moments, lean into the gracious arms of God. He has gone the distance for you; dressing His glory in the flesh of a man, living in our world without sin, dying a criminal’s death at the hands of mockers, and taking up His life again in victory, overcoming this world and all it can dish out. This is the hope in which we have assurance. Someday we’ll meet Him face to face. Until that day comes, lean in with all you have.

In the light of this good news, live boldly for the LORD! I ask you to put, as Oswald Chambers wrote, “God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face to face with God!” Engage your community, those beside and in front of you, with the joy of our liberating freedom in Christ. Become an active participant in the life of a local church. Find a body of believers to assemble with during your college experience. Mom and Dad cannot choose a relationship with God for you. It’s up to you.

Do good today! People, men and women, boys and girls are crying out for Christian encouragement and leadership. This city, this county, this state, this country and the world need to know the height, depth and breadth of the love of Jesus Christ! As you go, do good. No matter where your college experience takes you, show Jesus to others. Actively picture yourself as His literal hands and feet on this Earth. May we all draw encouragement from Galatians chapter six when the apostle Paul encourages the early Church, “Let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time, we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”

We will begin to count all adversity as joy when we lean into Christ as we bear the final exams, the homesickness, the sick relative, the passing of a loved one. Either you or someone you know will experience these things. Christ Jesus is on your side. His grace stands, with arms open wide, like the very beams of Calvary, ready to embrace you. Lean into Him. Why not today?