To The Senior…David transfers from lamenting and begging for understanding, to praising in the midst of the unknown.
In my time reflecting on the situation at hand, I feel a lot like David. Throughout Psalms, you see David navigating through various emotions. He transfers so quickly from lamenting and begging for understanding, to unwaveringly praising in the midst of the unknown.
Finding Hope During a Pandemic
Coming to terms with the loss of my final moments at Asbury University has been a rollercoaster of emotions, to say the least. Knowing that I could potentially not get a graduation ceremony, any kind of senior recognition and especially any final celebrations of senior year with my fellow classmates tears a hole in my heart. Packing up my apartment, loading my car and rapidly making the trek back to New York felt unreal and incomplete. I know of many fellow seniors that are facing the trials of grief and are coping with the empty, incomplete feeling that seems to haunt our senior year. I want to use this article to encourage you with what the Lord says about how to deal with these times. I also want to remind you that you are not alone in your stresses and give you possible solutions and hope to hold on to. As I am vulnerable about where this journey has taken me, I encourage you to look through the book of Psalms as I often refer to them.
1. Assess Your Roots (Psalm 1)
In my Bible, I drew an image of a tree next to the passage found in Psalm 1. One of the simplest comparisons to understand spiritual life is to look at the life of a tree. Growing deep roots and producing fruit are essential parts to the story of a tree. In this Psalm, it talks about how a person “whose delight is in the law of the Lord … is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season” (Psalm 1:2-3, NIV).
Two words that can easily be missed are “in season”—this serves as a reminder that there are seasons even in our walk as Christians. There are times where through all prayer and perseverance, God seems silent; there are also times when all is well, and His love is evident and strong. In life, there are going to be moments of extreme highs and extreme lows; the important part is where your roots lie. In the time when all seems wrong, do your roots reside next to His streams of goodness? Knowing your foundation is necessary when confused and afraid. When you are not firmly rooted in God’s love and secure in His calling of your life, the winds of change will rock you out of place. I urge you to use this time of isolation to dig deep and search for the location of your roots. Grow firm in your faith, yearning for His hand of healing and security in each season of abundance or lack thereof. He will provide according to His plan; our job is to trust Him fully and seek His wisdom in all seasons.
2. It’s OK to Be Afraid (Psalm 13)
Continuing through the Psalms, you will see varying laments. Questions, sorrow, anger and many more emotions fill the pages of the book of Psalms. In Psalm 13:2 (NIV), David cries out to God asking, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” He cries for answers and exclaims in his pain. Yet, in the midst of all anger and emotion, he affirms his need for God. I want to reassure you that it is okay to lament; it is okay to grieve this time lost. God is your friend and confidant; He wants you to talk to Him and He wants to know your deepest concerns and questions. When you are unsure or scared, God is the best person to talk to about it. He is always listening, even if it feels like He is not, He understands that what you are going through is not easy, and He encourages you with His unfailing love. You don’t have to hide from Him, you just have to simply open your heart to your Father. Wait on Him, and He will answer and provide peace.
I also want to affirm that you are not alone in your grief. Billions of people have been affected by this virus, and there are many that are grieving during this time. To speak for myself, I know that I still have many blessings despite my losses. Though my senior year doesn’t feel complete, it is only one year of my life. So yes, I allow myself to grieve this time lost, however, I refuse to let this grief overtake my life and steal my joy. I want to restate that it is okay to be upset about your situation but surrender those feelings to God and don’t let it consume you.
3. Seek Joy (Psalm 30)
My dad shared this verse with me: “You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11, NIV). Being given this verse, I assumed it was solely because of my connection with dance and my upbeat, positive attitude. Recently, I’ve been analyzing this verse and discovered a deeper testimony to my own life. When I think of the term “wailing,” I think of a baby screaming uncontrollably and without comprehension of what it needs or wants. In comparison to “dancing,” which I experience as a release of emotion, a true and genuine conversation with God and peace and joy all wrapped up into a single motion. The dramatic change from extreme sadness or anger to a total release of peace can come only from a connection with God. He takes away all that weighs us down and gives us a new identity of joy.
Joy is more than just happiness. Joy is more than just satisfaction and peace in times of trouble. Joy doesn’t rise up and down with our emotions. It’s steady. Joy comes from a Jesus-first and Jesus-fueled surrender. What a declaration of surrender and joy when you can look at the face of tomorrow—unknown and terrifying—and say, “come what may.” If you feel a lack of peace or joy, I advise you to take a look at where your joy is coming from. Are you searching for joy in a relationship, an experience, or yourself? I can guarantee that you will never experience true joy when you seek it anywhere that is not Jesus Christ. All you have to do is ask and believe that He will provide it. His grace covers the rest.
So, my fellow seniors, as you seek answers, joy or understanding, I can only encourage you to look for Jesus. He has never left you. When all things fail, I assure you He will not. Depend on Him. Accept His love for you. Let your faith be greater than your fear. He will provide. Trust Him.
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2).
Download our PDF of three takeaways from this article.
Don’t miss “To the Student…” written by college student Samuel Laro. Stay connected to read “To the Fearful…” by Captain Justin Caldwell coming later this week. You won’t want to miss this!
Summar Bussey was born in Cape Town, South Africa but has lived in New York for most of her life. A senior in college at Asbury University, she is studying elementary education. She loves all things creative and some things that are active.