Ruth C. lives in Washington, DC, where she can often be found happily reading on a park bench under the shade or sharing a meal with friends. She learned about Reformed Margins from her sister, Faith Chang, and is grateful for the opportunity to write about God’s never-ending, gracious work in our lives.
What a wonder it is, this world you have made! The universe proclaims your majesty with bold and beautiful ardor. We could dedicate the entirety of our lives studying a tiny slice of your creation and only ever see the fringes of all you are doing. Thank you, Father, that this is your world, and that you love it.
I thank you for the gift of education, and I pray for my Asian American brothers and sisters who are dedicating this season of their lives to study. They are learning about the wondrous world and people you have made on schools, campuses, and institutions across the world. You are with them as they do this. Every single moment of time amidst scrawled notes, walks to lectures, chats with classmates, and poring over chapters is pleasing to you as worship. You beckon us in the Psalms to marvel at the intricacies of the created world and the ways in which you have made us to steward it. Our hearts were made to delight in you and to join in your work, from economics to plumbing to art to engineering and everything in between. All for your glory and our joy.
But Lord, studying may not feel like joyous worship right now. It may feel overwhelming as these students strive to make the most of the sacrifices their families made for them–how will they procure a lucrative job upon graduation? Their studies may feel like a drain in the rat race of academic and professional success. It may feel like a pit in the stomach as they look left and right, wondering how everyone else seems to be fine as they struggle to keep up. Or it may feel discouraging, as many silently wonder why this is all so hard–passing exams, seeking Christ in their work, resisting temptation, loving others, finding purpose and calling. Isn’t going to school supposed to help people be more sure, more confident, more certain? Instead, anxiety chokes out joy, and nagging doubts of despair begin to sound awfully convincing.
Jesus, would you give each of them an upward gaze that transforms their hearts and minds? You made them. You, the Living Lord, have led them to this season. You will provide. You will be with them. You do not judge based on outward appearances of ability, determination, or even so-called spiritual efficacy. Your desire is not for grades, accolades, and letters after our name. Rather, your delight is to continually rescue and redeem the hearts that seek your face. Draw them near to you even as they study and learn and grow.
Lord, you rebuked the learned of Jesus’ day and rejoiced that the Father reveals himself to children instead. Show these students that the faith of a little child, though the world despises and mocks such things, is so precious to you. You will grow them in wisdom and knowledge each day as they trust in you. They need not be afraid.
As with all seasons of life you have ordained, the student life will soon come to an end. Lord, I pray even now that the abiding presence of Christ and his Church would be near to them in this temporary setting. Use this time to grow their hearts in grace and knowledge, to love you and to love the people you have made. The watching world will wonder at this odd way of living. Draw those others to yourself, even as your people study, read, and write to your glory.
“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.”