EVEN IN ATHENS, GA. (August 15, 2016)
a little over a year ago, I moved to athens, and it was the greatest decision I have ever made. The Lord has shown me more of Himself and my identity in Him than I thought was possible. I am surrounded by people who love Jesus, and are truly pursuing Him with all that they are. YES! even in athens, ga.
but I am not naïve to the reputation that my school and my city have.
I remember the judgmental looks I got when I declared that I was packing up my life and moving to the biggest “party school” in the state.
I remember the concern that a professor would teach about evolution, and I would suddenly reject everything I had believed for the past twelve years.
I remember the automatic assumption that it would be impossible to avoid the temptations of the “evil, secular school”.
I remember the snide comments about how impossible it would be to surround myself with genuine, Christian community.
and I remember how much those looks and statements pissed me off, because seemingly, I was the only one receiving them.
moving 10 hours away from home to attend a christian university? perfect. traveling the world for a year to share the Gospel? no problem. moving two hours away to a “secular” university? how dare I. because secular college is completely devoid of the Holy Spirit… right?
I wrote a blog post the summer before I moved to athens about how frustrating it was that the same people who had once told me I would move on to do such great things were now doubting that I would even continue attending church. but after living here for a year, I’ve realized that not only were those people doubting me, they were undermining the power of the Holy Spirit. and those limits that we place on God? they only affect us. The Lord remains. a change of facts, location, or circumstances on our end, does not change the truth about who He says He is; that all of God’s promises are “YES!” in Jesus. and in isaiah 44:3, He promises to pour out water on the thirsty land; to pour out His Spirit on us.
each week I have the opportunity to stand with thousands of other students and pray for revival on this campus. and you know what? He doesn’t have to answer that prayer.
He doesn’t have to, but He always does. we are praying for the Lord to pour out water on this thirsty land, and each week, we are watching Him say YES! last night, as hundreds of us gathered to worship, I had a vision of us worshipping in that same room 9 months from now, overflowing with thankfulness for what the Lord had done this year. He said to me, “be alert! be present! I’m about to do something brand-new. it’s bursting out! don’t you see it? there it is! I’m about to make a road through the desert, rivers through the badlands.” (isaiah 43:19)
and I believe it, because I’ve watched Him do it. if I learned anything my first year of college, it was this: this life is not just difficult without the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible. but here is the good news: the Holy Spirit can move whenever, however, and wherever He wants to. YES! even in athens, GA.