by Amanda Judah
The start of a new school year is always exciting, bringing with it new roommates, new resolutions, and new classes. I always find the end of August feels more like a “new year” than the beginning of January. There are always reasons to be excited about returning to campus, whether that is football games, reuniting with friends, or taking the first bite of a steak and cheese.
However, with any new experience there are bound to be some uncertainties. Will I pass my classes? Will my friends have changed? And the most important of all, how will we function without mozzarella sticks? Besides the musings of the general student body, every individual is struggling with their own personal challenges that may seem even more insurmountable.
Amazingly, we serve an all-encompassing God who knows of all these situations. Even more than that, He has planned out a specific path for our entire lives. Although it may be hard for us to understand, God ultimately gives us a future that will “prosper” and give us “hope” (Jer. 29:11). No matter what we are going through, we can look forward to a brighter future.
However, God understands that this unseen future can often feel incredibly abstract and far away, or even non-existent. It can feel like our problems are never going to go away, or that we will be stuck in a certain season of life forever. Because of Jesus’s physical identity on Earth, he is intimately aware of human suffering in all its complexities. His divine compassion extends to us all, famously made manifest through his tears at Lazarus’s grave (Jn. 11:35). Therefore, it is even more incredible that Jesus can instruct His followers, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt. 6:34).
As a history major, I find it even more astounding that God could be aware of all the world’s tragedies, past and present, and still urge us to focus on the here and now. Believers are still instructed to prepare for their eternal future, but need only focus on the immediate reality regarding their material circumstances. If BC students take this directive seriously, it can change how we think of our semesters. Rather than being stuck in an endless cycle of assignments, it may be possible to break things down into more manageable pieces, or give ourselves space to rest at the end of a long day.
In addition, Jesus’ advice doesn’t require believers to abandon their bigger dreams for their futures. His ministry was rooted in a vision of the “Kingdom of Heaven”, where perfect existence can be more easily recognized on earth. Therefore, we can all face the upcoming semester with both short-term and long-term visions, focusing on aligning our dreams with God’s.