Long before SNU’s administration was presented with the difficult task of leading a university through the chaos of a pandemic, the Christian Formation staff along with president Keith Newman began praying about the verse for the 2020-2021 school year. Recently, it was announced that Isaiah 41:10 was chosen, a verse that reads, “[s]o do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Now just a week into the fall semester, as students are coming back to a different type of socially distanced campus life, it is clear that this verse offers a glimpse of the peace that can be found amidst some of life’s most difficult and disappointing moments.
SNU’s campus pastor, Blair Spindle, described the clear application of this verse to the current state of our community, saying, “I think it’s clear that many students have fear and anxiety as well as a feeling of being dismayed and confused in this season. I think reminding ourselves that God is with us in the midst of these seasons is important. This truth enables us to stay strong and steadfast even as we face our realities.”
Our current reality is definitely one that no one foresaw, and one that we are all learning to navigate together. Still, the question remains: what does it mean to stay strong and steadfast in the face of our realities?
In an interview, spiritual life exec Pierson Bell offered some insight into how we can put the promises within this verse into practice in our day to day lives. He noted that this verse can often be taken out of context, but the true meaning can offer us a grounding frame of mind.
He went on to add, “I love this verse for the verse of the year, but far too often, it is taken out of context. It’s easy to hear this verse and think something along the lines of “God’s got me, so I don’t have to do anything”. But what God is saying in this passage is that Israel should trust that God knows what is to come and is promising of the plan God has for Israel in the future. So in this crazy time that we are living through, our mindset should not be that of not worrying about following guidelines like those that have been set for Covid because ‘God’s got us,’ but instead our mindset should be that of adjusting to this new way of living, knowing that this is not permanent, and trusting in God for what the future holds.”