March 19, 2019
The #MyWheaton blog shares first-person stories from Wheaton students and alumni.
Growing in Faith Through the Midst of Uncertainty
Nicole Kennedy ’19 is an English major from Flower Mound, Texas. In this MyWheaton blog post, Nicole reflects on the last four years spent at Wheaton, especially in the light of her new role as Senior Class Chaplain for this year.
Similar to many other students before me, I came to Wheaton solely in response to God’s voice calling me thousand miles from my home to a place I knew next to nothing about. I’d love to tell you a nice story about how I showed up to Wheaton and everything in my life suddenly clicked, the path became clear, and I figured out exactly what I’m supposed to do with my life, but this is just not true.
Instead, I’ll tell a story of learning to walk by faith.
Nearly every year at Wheaton has contained more questions than answers. I have often felt out-of-place, unable to fit the box of whatever a “typical Wheaton student” is supposed to look like. In the first two years here, I changed my major four times (seriously considering six others), and I bounced around from involvement to involvement, never quite finding my niche. I often considered transferring schools, and was incredibly close to doing so my sophomore year. The day I had to make the final decision of whether to transfer or not, I felt God again nudging me to stay at Wheaton. And even in staying, many parts of Wheaton continued to be unclear.
Despite all the confusion of why God placed me at Wheaton, there have been a few moments in which God has given me a glimpses into what He’s doing within me. One of those moments happened at the end of freshman year: all throughout the school year, I spent hours in Gold Star prayer chapel, journaling out layers of heavy prayers, asking questions that seemed to demand answers.
By the end of the year, I read back through my journal, frustrated that I was still left with so many unknowns. In that moment though, the Lord helped me to realize that though I hadn’t gotten closer to answers, I had gotten closer to the One to whom I was asking these questions. I realized that God had used the process of my seeking direction to pull me near to Himself, which is truly my greatest need. This realization has shaped much of my reflection about Wheaton. I am grateful to look back and see how God was testing my faith and training me to be faithful to Him, as He has always been faithful to me. God, in His mysterious ways, has essentially shown me what it means to walk by faith, and not by sight, trusting Him even when my path is convoluted.
As the senior class chaplain this year, my faith has again been put to the test as I planned our first senior chapel. All semester leading up to the chapel, I had been praying for direction on things like how to structure the time, whether or not to have a speaker, and what to make the focus. Yet, two days before the chapel, several pieces of the program still had not fallen into place. I was at a point of desperation. My prayers transitioned from gentle request: “Hey God! I’d love if you could answer my prayers!”, to anxious pleas: “Are you listening? Am I lacking faith? What are you trying to show me? Why aren’t you answering me?” In the throes of circular prayers, a thought came to mind: “God keeps working even while we are asleep.” I turned this idea over in my mind, wondering if I could believe it to be true. At 9pm, after an exhausting day of anxious prayer, I wrapped up my prayer time with, “God, please work even while I slumber”, and then fell asleep with the problems unresolved.
The next day, the day before our chapel, one of my professors offered to do the concluding prayer, a group of seniors helped me rearrange the schedule, and the final details quickly came together. The chapel went smoothly, and I was struck by God’s attentiveness and care even as I had begun to doubt that He was even listening at all. Once more, God used a time of confusion to grow my faith and teach me to trust in Him.
I could share many other stories of how God has used my time at Wheaton to grow my faith even through uncertainty. Ultimately, I hold onto the idea that one day, our faith will become sight and all loose ends with be tied up. I find so much hope in the fact that we will soon look directly at God and sing praises in the light of His face. My soul longs desperately for that day, but until then, we walk by faith that the Lord is doing work within us and throughout this earth. In faith, we continue to take one step forward after another, pressing further into His image until we meet Him face-to-face.
“We walk by faith, and not by sight”
Henry Alford (1844)
We walk by faith, and not by sight;
no gracious words we hear
from Him who spoke as none e'er spoke,
but we believe Him near.
2 We may not touch His hands and side,
nor follow where He trod;
but in His promise we rejoice
and cry, "My Lord and God!"
3 Help then, O Lord, our unbelief;
and may our faith abound
to call on You when You are near
and seek where You are found.
4 That, when our life of faith is done,
in realms of clearer light,
may we behold You as You are,
with full and endless sight.