Charleston, South Carolina

This is a featured post by Joel Kimpela. Joel is a senior in the MSB, hails from the great state of Texas and is a lifegroup leader. 

This is a featured post by Joel Kimpela. Joel is a senior in the MSB, hails from the great state of Texas and is a lifegroup leader. 

This past Friday morning I participated in a Psychology research study that took me through a series of surveys and questions about the brain. The study took about two hours and the only reason I did this was to earn the $10/hr they promised me (yes the struggle is real in college). While participating in the survey I could not help but notice that some of the questions involved God. So as a devoted Christian I marked all the right answers to substantiate my beliefs about God. Towards the end of the survey, they even asked me to draw an image of God protecting a child from danger. So I drew an Army airplane dropping bombs from the sky on a little boy, but I drew a cross protecting the boy from these bombs. But it never crossed my mind that the whole study focused on the existence of God and how He intervenes on our behalf during times of danger. They do not tell you this until the end of the research study.

After the study I could not help but think about what happened in Charleston, South Carolina this past week. I wondered where God was in all of this and what role if any he played in it. I know there have been many shooting tragedies just like this in recent years. But what did not sit well with me is that this instance happened in a church, a place where we draw our strength, protection and courage. Church - a place where we dwell in the presence of God. So how could He let this tragedy happen in such a place and why would He do so? I wrestled with these questions this past week and found it difficult to even draw strength from the Bible. Yes I doubted. I doubted that such a God would let this happen to his people who were devoted and gave their lives to Him. I honestly did not know why He would let such a thing happen.

But here is what I do know, I know that “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-19). In Genesis, after his brothers perpetrated wrongs against him, the figure Joseph told them essentially, “What you meant for evil, God intended for good” (Genesis 50:20). The enemy of this world wants us to believe that God is not on our side during this time and he wants to put false claims in our mind that reject who God is in our lives. But my prayer is that we the children of God use this time remember and reflect on his goodness and sovereignty (Psalm 77:5-12).

Another thing I am confident of today is that the 9 Charleston victims are dwelling in the presence of the Lord, a place where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" Paradise is what Jesus called it (Revelations 21:4). Which I am certain is a far better place than where our nation is at today. I also know that a tragedy such as Charleston should humble us to examine ourselves, to remember that our sins make us deserving of wrath at the hands of a holy God. But then, may we to remember that God gave his Son for us, that He became a refuge for us. Tragedy is an invitation to turn once again from our sin and find rest in God alone.

My prayer is that God would heal those who are hurting today and bring comfort to the victims’ family, and most importantly, that we would draw even closer to Him during this time.

“No matter what circumstances come our way, God is good, and may we never forget it.” - Yed Anikpo


Prayer Can Be Dangerous

This is a featured post by Sarah Mucha.  Sarah is a sophomore in the SFS. In addition to speaking a million languages, playing the ukulele and being a  YouTube sensation , she leads a Lifegroup and sings on the worship team. She tweets at  @sarahemilymucha . 

This is a featured post by Sarah Mucha. Sarah is a sophomore in the SFS. In addition to speaking a million languages, playing the ukulele and being a YouTube sensation, she leads a Lifegroup and sings on the worship team. She tweets at @sarahemilymucha

For the longest time, I prayed the lyrics to the song Oceans by Hillsong. The part that goes “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.” Here’s the funny thing about those kind of prayers. God answers them. Shocker, right?  He takes that plea and then gives you situations where you have to trust Him and fully rely on His wisdom and strength.

But guess what? It’s not easy. Like, at all. I’ve been called into places and positions this summer that put me at odds with God. I wrestled with Him more than once until I realized that this is what I asked for.. that He would take me on an adventure and that I would learn to trust unquestionably. I’m not saying that I accomplished this successfully nor that I ever even will accomplish unquestionably trusting God successfully. But it seems pretty straightforward to talk about, right?

The Man Upstairs knows what’s at the end of my life, He knows what’s going to happen in the next second, the next hour…for Him, my future is already a memory. Yet for some reason, when some curveball gets thrown in my way, I ask why and cry for days that that’s not how I planned my life and who even is writing this story right now. Like, oh really? Because I’m the one who plans my life in the first place. I have the power to give life and take it away. Because I was around for all of eternity and I know what’s best for not only myself, but for all of mankind ever. So that kind of puts me in my place.

Writing this, it all makes so much sense. Putting it into practice is another story, however. Plot twists, I’ve come to realize, come a lot more often in life than I expected they would. I’d say that things don’t always go as planned, but when you think about it, who’s the One planning it anyway?

Confession time: I’m not good at the whole trusting thing.

I’m a planner and it has taken several attempts on God’s part to hit me in the face with the fact that I’m not the one in control of my life. I think He’s starting to get through to me. I’ve also come to realize that though I don’t understand a lot of plot twists God writes in, I’m more and more thankful that I’m not the one holding the pen that authors my life. He knows what’s best and works for the good of those who love Him (holla atcha Romans 8:28). I don’t always have to understand, but what I do have the confidence to say is that I’m in good hands (thanks for ruining such a good catchphrase, Allstate.) But really, though. He knows what’s up and I’m beyond grateful that He’s got my back.

Ramble over, the moral of the story is this: Well, there are two morals.

  1. Ask and you will receive, my friends.
  2. Learning to trust God is an every day kind of lesson.