I originally wrote this poem in the midst of midterms during the spring semester of my freshman year. I was procrastinating my studies, and I was tired, stressed, and pressured by comparison and competition. My greatest fear was failing to meet my own standards and those of the world, as well as disappointing others around me, including my parents. My goal was to turn to face Jesus, let go of the fears and standards, and rest in Him.
A lot has changed since then: I still fear failure, but I now have greater fears that extend beyond my academics and success, due to COVID-19 and with the uncovering and increasing awareness and action against incidents and issues of injustice across our nation.
There have been external changes regarding the places I go, the things I do, and the people I am with, as well as changes and growth in the thoughts, perspectives, and dissonance that I hold and struggle with inside my mind and heart.
However, this poem still seems relevant, and certain parts stand out even more under the light of this long pandemic and the uncovering of and fight against social issues and injustices. And while fear persists–new and old fears–I can confidently declare that my faithful God is still here by my side. He was working, is working, and will continue to be working. Though darkness, pain, and suffering seem to be growing, I still see light, witness grace, and experience peace. Perhaps even more than before, I now understand the meaning of life, the power of hope, and the clarity in purpose.
And in the midst of it all, I continue to tremble–for I know my God is with me.
When I wrote my essay, my college application process and transition to Williams College were fresh in my mind. Right now, I am processing different changes in my life, but I remain grateful for God’s generous love, and I aspire to trust Him more each day. In the moments when I struggle to connect with God, I am encouraged by His fierce loyalty, expressed in these words: “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13, NIV).
The pressures of COVID-19 have accelerated the trend toward blind beliefs where no amount of evidence can convince people to change their minds about the positions they hold. With that shift, condemnation of those we disagree with has become more trenchant; there are no facts or evidence that can stem the tide of our disdain. It is now nearly impossible to defend ourselves from false accusations, and the consequences of “being in the wrong” are more severe and more permanent. If you find yourself as someone’s enemy, there is no path toward reconciliation. Combine that with the inner insecurities that Covid has unmasked, and it is more important than ever to realize that God in Christ does not and will not condemn us because when we were God’s enemies, Christ died for us to reconcile us to God. That’s good news.