Beauty in Brokenness

"He has made everything Beautiful in it's time." Eccl. 3:11

Consistent inconsistency

on April 1, 2014

Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s all down hill from here.” That is the mentality of most people at NIU, especially after Spring Break. With the winter being so long, and spring being almost nonexistent, most everyone feels a little beat up. Classes are hard, the weather is frightful, and peoples’ spirits are feeling burdened.

Summer promises a little rest and a little bit of hope (in the form of sunlight and warmth).

The home stretch is upon us. Only 5 more weeks before summer break, and for some graduation. Finals are at the front of many peoples’ minds. Sickness is starting to creep in with the weather change and the amount of stressed being faced. And relationships have fallen to the back burner in the face of papers, tests, and research. When your to do list is as long as your arm, it is hard to keep good perspective on what is actually important.
I mean lets be real… sleeping and eating become optional at this point of the semester for many.

But it is sad to think that when the world throws so much at us… a lot of which really is important and timely… we lose sight of things that have eternal significance. Things that will last so much longer than an A on that test, or even a degree.

It is a rough time to be in the campus ministry arena. As the student get distracted and apathetic, I can feel the mood weigh heavy on my own heart. Impatience creeps in. I start to be less understanding and more easily irritated as people cancel appointments and show less commitment to things that were once important. After weeks and weeks of listening to them stress over their research paper or their GPA, it is hard to lovingly remind them that worries are sinful and preoccupation can be a clear indicator of idols.
My own sin starts to become more and more obvious, as my responses become less loving and more harsh. My spirit becomes more critical and less graceful. My selfrighteous pride kicks in/ “I am the only one who cares.” “Why can’t people just listen to me?” “No one makes my part in their lives a priority/”

This last week at our Cru Live meeting, the room was looking pretty empty. Even many of the regulars were busy with homework or sickness. It was the smallest group we had seen in almost 2 years. I could barely hold back the disappointment.
Disappointment in the students for letting me down.
Disappointment in myself for not doing enough to improve the situation.
Even disappointment in God for letting it get to this.

And my heart said, ‘If no one else cares, then why should I.” I could check out for the rest of the semester and no one would notice.

But the meeting went on as normal. We were starting a new series called “My story”. The senior leaders were given time to share there own personal story about what God has taught them in college. My roommate stepped up to the microphone.

As she began to talk, I could not hold on to my bad attitude.

She stepped on to NIU as a freshman, hurt and critical. Knowing the past things she has gone through I do not blame her. She has experienced more hurt than anyone I have ever met. But as she happened upon a Cru meeting those first weeks, she encountered the saving, redeeming power of Jesus. I can’t imagine my time at NIU without her. She has been such a steady influence on the Cru movement here for 6 years. A quiet, faithful, loving servant.

The band came up to play a few songs after she shared her story and i just could not do anything but worship.
I will confess that I had not had much of worshipful attitude all day. Frustration and discouragement have been near for the past 2 weeks. Often I can push it just far enough away to function, but its always threatening to overtake me.

As we sang these lyrics and I looked over the very small crowd, I felt God’s voice speaking to my heart.

After all, You are constant
After all, You are only good
After all, you are sovereign
Not for a moment did you forsake me

To look at things from the outside, there is nothing that has been constant over this year. Not our leadership, not our students, not our numbers. Not even the weather.
Here we are in a constant transition.

But that first line hit me…. You are constant

That is what He is promising us. When nothing else is, He is constant. He is good. No one else can say this. Everything else will let us down.

But He won’t. He never has.

Not for a moment, did He forsake us.
Not once.

Standing in the back, looking at the small crowd, my heart was full. I saw people who had truly been changed over the past year… even the past 6 years. It was nothing we did right. Nothing we did at all. We just showed up.

But so did God.
He brought change. He brought growth. He was faithful when we are not.

We see things through worldly eyes. We see actions and numbers. We see programs and strategy.
Jesus sees hearts.
He is delighted by lives that are surrendered to you.
He is not disappointed when 25 people show up to our meetings. He is joyful that 25 people are worshipping Him.
He is not disappointed when we fail. He is delighted when we repent.
He can do so much with 25 faithful, passionate, humble people (even if they are shy or socially awkward) than we can do with 200 loud, charismatic, half hearted people.

God is about quality and not quantity.
He is about repentant surrendered hearts, not legalistic rule followers.

If my roommate was the only one who ever came to Christ through Cru at NIU, that would still be successful. If only 5 people from each graduating class follow the Lord and live lives taht proclaim Jesus, God will still be glorified.
He can do more with a few who give up their own life to allow God to move, than 10,000 who do the “right” thing in their own strength.

He is constant.
Praise the Lord, He is constant.

The work He began, He is faithful to complete.

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