Three years ago, at the age of 26, I started my undergraduate at Bethlehem College & Seminary after receiving a call from the Lord to reach the unreached of the world for Christ. Though I was eager to get started and to be equipped at this amazing institution, I was more eager to finish and to be on my way to working abroad. Now, with one year to go, both rich experiences and trials behind, I’m still eager but fighting fear as I approach the completion of my training. Four years seemed so long, but, now, it seems but a breath as I head into my senior year.
The Reason I’m Eager Just as an earthly father includes his son in his work, bringing the son great joy, our heavenly Father calls us who are in Christ to join him on his epic mission to win many from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue (Rev. 7:9). There is no greater joy! To be with him, empowered by the Spirit to proclaim Christ’s excellencies to the nations, even in the suffering, is the path to greatest joy. To be made like Christ and to see others made like Him is truly what we were made for. Even as the Lord has given fruitful ministry opportunities and study and community in Minneapolis, how could I stay in these present comforts when the Lord promises fuller life in the laying down of them? “The Lord reigns!” I live to see “the many coastlands be glad” (Ps. 97:1). His mission cannot fail! Christ will build his Church and all will see his glory (Mt. 16:18).
The Reason I’m Fighting Fear Last week’s events in our nation only further prove our neediness for God. Not only am I walking into a broken world in which there are many complex issues, I am daily waging war on the flesh. The task at hand is “impossible” (Lk. 18:27). I’m weak. I’m a sinner, and, though I know I can do nothing apart from Jesus, how often do I try. Yet, I know that my weakness is where Christ’s power is made manifest (2 Cor. 12:9), my righteousness is in him alone (Phil. 3:9), and my power is in his authority and his faithful intercession (Mt. 28:13; Lk. 22:32). Christ is enough today, and he will be enough tomorrow. The Father is pleased that I bear much fruit in him (Jn. 15:8).
As the reality comes near that I’ll be leaving family and friends behind for years at a time, it can be easy to self-pity or to imagine how great I am for forsaking everything for Christ, but what pride that is! My soul needs this perhaps as much as do the lost souls of South Asia. I praise God for this warning from Pastor Piper’s Desiring God. Just as when I left all to follow Christ, I’ll keep taking my cross daily, running into the arms of the Great Physician, the Shepherd of our souls, who knows our every need, including the path to eternal glory for Daniel Simmons! I left family and friends in Cincinnati only to prove God’s faithfulness to provide hundredfold what I left behind (Mk. 10:29-30). I know that, as I cast vision for the next season when I will leave much behind in this place, God will be my satisfaction and will provide all that I need. Sacrifice is inevitable on this journey, but it will be no sacrifice because Jesus will be in that place.
This is my prayer for myself and my fellow Seniors and graduating Seminarians, that we would seek God’s face in every moment, not looking on to the next thing, hoping it comes sooner or dreading its arrival, but enjoying him in each Greek parsing, late-night paper writing, and early morning work shift. He is near today, and he promises the same tomorrow. This is our portion. May we walk in that faith. May our hearts genuinely pursue God in these summer months and in the days to come. There are many uncertainties there to find, but one sure thing is Christ’s Word: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).
Daniel Simmons 4th year college student
1. Please pray for students both coming and going from Bethlehem College & Seminary – that we would seek God’s face in all things and bear much fruit through Christ. May Christ add to the Church daily through our labors.
2. Pray for the many students participating in short-term missions this summer.
3. Pray that Bethlehem Baptist and all associated Churches in our city would be beacons of light in our broken city and nation.
4. Pray that Christ would shape us to feel, pray, and respond as he would to all the cultural injustices we see. Pray for a deeply rooted humility that would allow us to be servants to all.
5. Pray for all the students and faculty, that God would give us a vision for mission. Whether in academia, the marketplace, or the nations, may our vision be controlled by the love of Christ unto mission.
6. Pray that God would provide financially for Bethlehem College & Seminary in the upcoming year as well as for all the students and families enrolled.