GLORIETA, N.M.(BP)–Referring to herself as an “older sister”, Ellen Black encouraged college students to continue on the journey of faith even through the tough times.
Black, vice president of EQUIP, a nonprofit Christian organization devoted to equipping leaders to serve the church, led a conference titled, “Jesus Loves Me: Accepting Who We Are In Christ,” during Collegiate Week at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, in New Mexico.
Churches today talk a lot about the number of salvation decisions and baptisms, Black said, but not enough about the walk.
“We don’t talk enough about the struggle and where we are in the journey,” she said, noting that seeking God, even in the tough times, is an ongoing part of a personal walk with him.
Illustrating the scars people acquire on the journey of faith, Black told students she has been 5’12” since the eighth grade. She never says she is six feet tall because her height was a personal struggle for her as she grew up. Because of the stereotypical way other people perceived her as a tall person, she intentionally never played basketball.
Not only is it OK not to know what God has in store for the future, it’s OK not to know what you want to major in during college, Black said, noting that the important thing is to stay close to God’s Word.
“Part of faith is realizing that we don’t always have the answer but Jesus still loves us,” she said. “One of the things you do when you follow Jesus is you put one foot in front of the other and keep walking and walking and walking.”
A key point to behaving like a Christian is to accept Christ’s love, Black said.
“All of us have baggage. All of us have issues. Sometimes we hold on to things but we have to go to God and let go in trust.”
She said she had a great relationship with her father, so it is not hard for her to imagine God as a loving, forgiving and providing father. Other people, however, may equate God the Father with their earthly father and decide they really don’t want a relationship with someone like that.
She encouraged students to keep going in the journey of faith and to remember that Jesus loves them even through the tough times.
“When God chooses to provide for us, it is often like manna. Manna wasn’t there a month ahead of time,” Black said.
In addition to accepting Christ’s love for themselves, Black also encouraged students to love each other and support each other.
“We need to allow our brothers and sisters to be who God made them to be,” she said.
Collegiate week was sponsored by the National Collegiate Ministries department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.