Faith on the Quad A Lesson from College Midterms: Perseverance and Focusing on our Heavenly Goal

“I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14)

Midterms Week in college is not a fun week.  It is a week filled with extra tests and papers, added into an already-busy schedule.  As my friends and I prepared for our midterms a few weeks ago, we quickly found ourselves overwhelmed by colossal amounts of studying and reading.  Finally, one of my friends looked up from her work and frustratedly exclaimed, “Now remind me again, why exactly did I want to come to college?”

Of course, it was not a serious question.  We all knew that we were in college to get an education so that we would have a wide-open future.  Stress and busyness are part of college.  It is true that researching, writing papers, and cramming for tests are not always fun.  But the main purpose of college is not to have fun.  We don’t go to college because it is easy; we go because of the opportunities that a college education will afford us.  A college diploma opens the door to a world of opportunities, jobs, and positions that would not otherwise be available.  As we go through college, our goals of graduation and the life beyond are always in the back of our minds.

Our Christian life is a lot like college.  Living a Christian life is not easy: we are battling a hostile world that seeks to prevent us from knowing the truth.  At times, we may feel overwhelmed by the uphill battle we are fighting.  But although it is not easy, it is very rewarding.  By living a truly Christian life, we grow closer to Christ and bring others closer to Him as well.  We embark on our Christian voyage not because it is easy, but because of the goals we hope to one day reach.  And even in the midst of difficulty, suffering, and adversity, we can find great joy in our Christian life if we turn to Christ, the source of all true strength and joy.

Countless saints endured persecution and even death for their beliefs.  In many cases, their persecutors offered to release them if they would only denounce their faith.  The easy thing to do would have been to reject their beliefs in order to save their lives.  But instead, they firmly adhered to their faith and accepted death, remembering the words of Christ, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 16:25)

In the same way, we are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps, even when the way is not easy.  We shall draw strength from Christ, in whom we can do all things (Phil 4:13), and we shall receive the grace to persevere in difficult times and make the sacrifices necessary to live a truly Christian life.  Like college students who struggle through the heavy workload in order to open up a world of opportunity with a college degree, we as Christians must fight the good fight, constantly keeping our eyes fixed on our heavenly goal. 

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