Driving through Waco this past weekend, my heart was saddened to look at the beauty of Baylor’s campus, realizing the turmoil within its walls. We have come a long way from 1978, when I first stepped foot on the soil of the BU campus as a freshman. And without a doubt, we still have a good bit of growing and learning ahead of us. Whenever we face challenges, whether as individuals or institutions, there are always questions to ask ourselves. One question is, “What do I learn from this?” Here are three lessons that I want to bring down to a personal level.
No one is above reproach. We must each examine our own lives and hearts – and re-examine them on a continual basis. How easy it is, not only to sin, but to turn a blind eye toward it in our own lives. Even David, a man after God’s own heart, sinned greatly and tried to sweep it under the carpet. Baylor’s controversy is a reminder to us all to recognize and turn from the sin that we may be allowing to infiltrate our own lives.
Focus on the Bigger Picture. Yes, this is not Baylor’s most glowing moment, but what company, church or institution is without challenges or controversy somewhere in its history? Let’s step back and look at the bigger picture, Baylor is an outstanding university striving for academic excellence from a Christian perspective. It is, and will continue to be, a place where students are inspired and equipped to use their gifts and talents to make a difference in this world. I can look back with gratitude for my years as a student there and the life-long friendships that were built as a result. Let’s keep our eyes on the bigger picture of what God is doing in this place.
Life is Messy, but God brings Redemption. Many lives have been deeply hurt and affected by this tragedy at our university. We grieve with them and recognize that it will take time to heal and feel whole again. The reality for each one of us is that life is messy, sad and painful at times. I’m reminded of what David wrote in Psalm 34, “A righteous man may have many troubles…” Yet, David didn’t stop there. He went on to write, “but the Lord delivers him from them all.” We may not understand why we go through certain troubles, but we can know that God is able to bring redemption and even good through bad things.
As followers of Christ, we have a hope that God can take even the worst of circumstances and use them for a greater good. Look at the cross. Talk about a reason to despair! The disciples thought their whole life had crashed right before their eyes, and yet the greatest trial became the greatest triumph. As we ask the question, “What do I learn from this?” Let us also ask the bigger question, “What will God do through this?”
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8