Celebration Laced with Sadness

Yesterday, my amazing daughter graduated with her Masters Degree in School Guidance Counseling from a Christian university in our state. It was an exciting day! She’s worked hard to get to this point in her life. She has found her calling and is excited for how she will be able to serve students and families in the future. Let me be clear about one thing…NOTHING dampened our excitement for her! We celebrated! We’ll celebrate some more with family soon! We will celebrate when she gets her first guidance counselor position! We are proud of all her accomplishments!

The sadness came in the form of grief as I watched and listened to an undercurrent of a battle throughout the ceremony. Remember, I said this is a university founded on Christian beliefs and continues to claim to be a Christian school.

When our daughter first went there for her undergraduate work, the message of the school was clear. It was a small college with a definite mission. When you sat through a program or ceremony, you knew it was an organization standing on the solid rock of Christ. There was no doubt!

Yesterday, that just wasn’t the case. Oh there were a few who participated in the ceremony that obviously still believe and teach Christian values and beliefs. The “congregation” sang “On Christ the solid rock I stand” and the invocation pointed those there to Jesus. Then there was a student speech that spoke of her belief in multiple other religions, laughed that she was giving this speech at a Christian school, and praised the idea of equifinality. Now in and of itself, equifinality simply means there are many ways to reach an end goal. In the context of her presentation, anyone there could infer she meant she believed there are many ways to God. Finally, the faculty member following that student’s speech, prayed a prayer of benediction that never mentioned Jesus…not once. He talked around Him instead. It was like he was trying to make the premise of the student’s presentation okay in that setting.

Thus, you can envision the battle that waged from the stage. Oh it wasn’t an all out debate. No arguing took place. But it was definitely there. You see, we were not at a public university. We were at a university claiming to be a Christian establishment. The messages that come forth from them should be Christ-centered. It was disturbing for me.

Obviously, it’s still on my mind this morning. I was reminded in a Facebook memory of why I was so uncomfortable. Several years ago I was studying the book of Isaiah, specifically Isaiah 45. I wrote the following:

I sometimes struggle with reading and studying the Old Testament. But friends, we can’t take the Bible…the God-breathed Word…in only the little chunks we are comfortable with. The parts that only make us feel good when we read them. The parts that are easier for us. While sometimes the OT writing is difficult, God has a way of making His Word and message clear. I was struck this morning by how often God repeats the message He has for us. Studying Isaiah 45, over and over (at least 10 times) it says in one way or another that THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, THE GOD, the ONE who saves. He created the world…us! He IS the only true God!
I’m sure, in my life, He gets tired of having to repeat Himself! Something to think about.


And today, I’m also reminded of John 14:6…

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 English Standard Version (ESV)

Friends, there is only one way to the Father and that is through the Son. My prayer is the university will find its way back to THE foundation it was built upon a long time ago, that students who pass through there will hear often that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that instead of making their mission about more money, they’ll make it their mission once again to reach the world with the Gospel.


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