The school buses are running but empty of passengers. I assume they’re testing the routes for the start of the new school year. How did summer go so quickly? Was it something that we said?
Having never known the experience of riding on one of those big yellow “taxis,” I confess to a hollow feeling in my tummy when they begin to reappear. They fill me with a sense of foreboding that takes me back to the first day of school, when Susan and I would stand at the end of the driveway and watch as our children were whisked away. And then, oh so quickly, that rite of passage was replaced with the departure for college and the dawning realization that things would never be quite the same again. (Don’t tell anyone, but I am susceptible to emotional crises and prone to bouts of nostalgia.)
I’m not alone in this. I’ve witnessed it from both sides—the parent and the student. I have a vivid recollection of speaking at “Freshers’ Week” at a Christian university. Greeting students at the end of the evening, I was approached by a young man who, when I asked him how things were going, said through his tears, “My parents brought me here today, and then THEY JUST LEFT ME!” My attempts at explanation and consolation seemed to have little effect. He is now a seminary professor, and each time I see him, I try hard not to remind him.
It is understandable when times of transition become stressful and worrisome. Each new experience provides us with an opportunity to pray in the words of the hymn writer, “Help me then, in every tribulation, so to trust Thy promises, O Lord, that I lose not faith’s sweet consolation, offered me within Thy holy Word.”
When we meet together as a team on Wednesday mornings, we pray for you along these lines. Your requests for prayer do not go unattended. We are constantly aware of our need individually and as a ministry to Take Dead Aim (the title of our September program series) and to keep our eyes on the prize (Phil. 3:14). Also, we learn together with you from the books we recommend (this month, Knowing God by J.I. Packer and a devotional titled Contentment) as we seek to keep our focus on eternal priorities.
If you have a member of your family heading off or back to college, perhaps they’ll be willing to learn from the teaching series Lessons For Life, which deals with matters like friendship, rivalry, temptation, and making the most of our time. The study can be heard on our daily program beginning September 25 or you can easily share an online link to the series for free by clicking here, then clicking the share button.. (The study is also available on a USB drive.)
One of the encouragements for me during these summer months has been in meeting a number of you who have made the trek to Cleveland to see us in our natural habitat. Thank you for doing so, and thank you always for your selfless generosity and the assurance of your prayers.
On behalf of the Truth For Life team and with my love in the Lord Jesus,
P.S. If you’d be helped this time of year by reading more on the topic of contentment, we’ve posted a short list of highly recommended books on our website at truthforlife.org/contentment.
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg