In 2004, I graduated with high honors with an Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts. Additionally, I was invited to be one of the featured speakers at the commencement ceremony. Two years later, I wore my third funny shaped hat, the first being for my high school graduation. This time, I was graduating with high honors from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in English. In June 2008, I am proud to say that I graduated with a Master of Science degree in English Education with highest honors. I earned a 4.0 GPA. And yes, I had the opportunity to wear my fourth funny shaped hat, enormous gown, and another collection of honor cords and a stole. Oh, and I did manage to find the teaching job of my dreams, and I have found that giving grades is much more pleasant than trying to earn them.
I am so grateful to the Lord for not only giving me my dream of graduating, but showering me with the abundant blessing of having this experience not once, but four times. Not only that, but He gave me the desires of my heart when He gave me the opportunity to speak, and even add color to my ensemble by enabling me to achieve highest honors. There are some things in life that happen so perfectly. And other times, there are moments that transpire that leave me wondering why they had to happen at all.
Yet, with these six years of higher learning and five years of teaching under my belt, there are times when I feel that I do not know anything. While I may be able to explain hyperbole and onomatopoeia until I am blue in the face, there are an infinite number of things that I cannot even begin to comprehend. Although I could write a qualitative essay in the amount of time it takes some people to drink a cup of coffee, the mysteries of life often stop me in my tracks. In short, I simply do not understand why some things happen.
When I take a closer look at the trials people around me are facing, as well as the trials that I have endured in my own life, I often wonder why God does not always intervene. As the evangelist David Ring has asked so many times before, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Why do Christians have their children taken away too soon, whether through a miscarriage before they are born or an accident when they are older? Then other people live a life straying away from God, only to have healthy children falling out of their windows. Why does the drunk driver sometimes walk away unscathed while innocent people’s lives are lost? Why do people who spend their lives happily helping others have to fight internal battles, whether emotional, mental, or physical? I don’t understand. Do you?
Even with my educational background, I am unable to uncover all of the mysteries of life. No college degree can provide the knowledge that is possessed only by a sovereign God. There is no institution, no matter how prestigious, that can explain why these things happen as they do. While I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to become a college graduate, I know that there is more to life than what university professors and college textbooks can teach you. There is only one Teacher who can impart the knowledge necessary to survive this broken planet. This world is full of trials and tribulations, and a myriad of things that we do not understand. And in reality, there are some things that we will likely never understand.
As I look back on my life, I don’t understand why I have seen loved ones pass away all too soon. I cannot comprehend why I have endured physical problems. I don’t know why there are times when I feel lost, uncertain which way to turn. What I do know, with complete certainty, is that Jesus Christ has walked with me through every victory and every defeat. He walked me to class when I was in college. He walked across the platform at each of my graduation ceremonies, cheering me on. Likewise, He walked with me through long hospital hallways, funeral homes, and cemeteries. He is sitting beside me, even now, guiding my fingers as I write about the times I don’t understand life itself.
No matter what you are going through, Jesus Christ wants to walk beside you each and every day, just as He does for me. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you will never be the same. You will experience the peace that passes all understanding. Sure, you still may not understand all of the mysteries of life, but you will have the One who does understand with you always. He said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). It does not matter if you have a college education or not. What matters is whether you have Jesus Christ beside you, guiding you and directing your paths. He will teach you how to overcome the trials of life. He will show you how to enjoy living. Even when you don’t understand, Jesus loves you. He understands exactly where you are in your journey, and He will never leave you alone.
In Christ’s Love,