Coming to university can be both exciting and daunting, it’s a time to grow in independence, to explore and discover. Many people will be thinking through big questions about their life, identity and the world. What makes me myself? What are my gifts? Who are my friends? How should I spend my time? What will make me happy? How do I deal with the fear of failing? Where do I turn when things are overwhelming? What should I do with my life?
There are all sorts of places we could look to for answers to these kind of questions and your friends at university may try all sorts of answers on for size, wondering, does this fit?
Right now, you may also be wondering, what will my first year look like, how will I fit in, will I find my place, will I enjoy it, will I cope?
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul tells the Christians at Colossae that wherever they are tempted to look for answers, hope and satisfaction, Christ is far better and Christ is wonderfully sufficient.
Whether you’re itching to start or dreading the day, when we see the magnificent picture of Christ in Colossians 1:15-23, we’re reminded that Christ is the one we can look to in all circumstances because he’s a big enough and good enough for all circumstances. Even first year of university in a pandemic.
Vs 15: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
University life feels unknown.
That’s unavoidable given the circumstances we find ourselves in. But amidst all the uncertainty, we can be sure of God’s unchanging nature because it is perfectly revealed in Christ. Christ shows us just what he is like. Christ, the one who pursues us in love, gave himself for us in death and rose in resurrection life, offering us a hope unshaken by anything we might encounter. The Father’s heart for you is revealed in the Son who gave himself for you. What an assurance in which to rest!
Vs 16: For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
University life feels daunting.
When I moved to university, nerves definitely featured more than excitement. But if you know Jesus, you know the one who created all things, who is above every power you can imagine and even the ones you can’t. As you move to Durham, Jesus knows exactly where you’ll be – he made it! He is in control, he isn’t surprised by Covid or unsure of the future. What a saviour to trust!
This is not just a comfort, it’s also an invitation. It’s an invitation to explore the world that Jesus made. He knows exactly what you’ll be studying – because he made that as well. Whether it’s contemplating the nature of justice in law, what it means to be human in anthropology or whatever the heck quarks are in physics, you can do it to God’s glory, delighting to discover the intricate depths of what has been created through him and for him.
Vs 17: And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
University life feels full.
Friends, societies, sports, music, church, oh, and your degree. Holding it all together sometimes feels like trying to eat a poorly constructed fajita. But Christ holds together all things. That’s one big fajita. He made it, he sustains it. When you feel overwhelmed, he isn’t. When you come to the end of yourself, he’s a refuge in which to hide.
And his rightful place is before all things; that’s a helpful guide for figuring out your priorities at university. Christ is already before all things in creation, we don’t choose to put him there. But we can choose to live our lives recognising that reality, living in light of it, living with the grain of all creation – in worship of Christ.
However you’re feeling and whatever your first year of university will hold, rejoice that in Christ you have a magnificent and utterly trustworthy saviour who is bigger than anything you might face.