As the school year drew near and the summer came to a close, our Northwestern staff team was excited to be back on campus for the fall. We made plans to kickoff the semester and engage new students, but God had something else in store, something better.
Our semester kickoff was put on pause for Nate’s shoulder surgery, my husband Luke’s kidney stones and seizures for Nate & Elli's dog Cato. Our team felt discouraged that our plans for being on campus had come and go as we all rested and recovered at home. The beginning of the year is so strategic in meeting new students and building relationships and we were not able to be there.
What could sound like a really sad story or a failed beginning of the semester, God has used for good, He has grown in our absence our largest movement yet! Students are coming around our staff and students despite our lack of initial presence. Through our student leaders and his grace, God has shown us that he is sufficient and can work in mighty ways without us.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
According to this passage in Acts, God does not need us. He can give life, breath, and everything to all of mankind without us doing anything! Often times we think we have a lot to do with it, especially in full time ministry. I remember having the sweetest conversation with a student at our New Year’s conference as she went from death to life, trusting in Christ for the very first time! I was on top of the world! And if I really think about it, I probably thought I had a lot of influence over her conversion. I had the right things to say at the right time and I was there as her heart changed. BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE AT ALL!
Don’t get me wrong, our heavenly father loves to let us participate in his kingdom work! He loves to work through us to speak life into others. In fact, Romans 10 says it’s absolutely necessary for us to speak the gospel to the world! “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” God will absolutely include us in his saving work, but he definitely doesn’t need us.
Paul makes this point to the Corinthian church as he is trying to emphasize that we all received life by God’s power alone: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth,” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).
God works through his children, but only he does the saving and sanctifying work within. Sometimes he sidelines us to help us remember this truth. That was the case here at the University of Northwestern, and we are grateful to have seen God do amazing work!
Campus Outreach Minneapolis
Northwestern Campus Staff