Compatibility, Conditions, and Conforming to Christ

Here are some of my disorganized musings on my short time in college thus far. To be honest, I wasn’t too excited to come to college. In fact after orientation I was convinced that I had made a mistake. It felt like God was placing me somewhere tailor-fit to be wrong in every way. In the weeks leading up to college, I was entrenched in a mixture of worries, and regrets. What if I had gone here? How will things change at home? What will the future be like? etc.

In an attempt to combat my selfishness and restore a right perspective, I came up with an analogy of sorts. It made a lot of sense to me then, and it still does now. My analogy comes from a Paul Washer sermon on marriage. Washer exposes a common misconception that marriage is perfectly intertwined with compatibility. He argues instead that oftentimes God gives you a spouse who is weak in the very areas you need her to be strong; a spouse who is incompatible, who fails to meet the conditions you hold most dearly. Why would God do that? Because God’s goal is not to make us happy, it is to make us more like Christ. Did Christ only love those who met all of His conditions? By no means! He loved us, wretched sinners, though we met none of the conditions. He loved us though we rejected, and hated him. He loved us all the way to the Cross, where he bled and died for our sins. How can we learn to love like Christ, that is to love unconditionally, if our spouse meets all the conditions? We cannot. By giving a wife who fails to meet our conditions, God, in his wisdom, makes us more like Christ, by teaching us to love sacrificially, and to selflessly lay down our lives. In my analogy this principle can be applied broadly to college, and life in general. God’s goal in allowing me to go to college is not to provide me a perfect fellowship, a perfect roommate, and perfect friendships; rather, it is to conform me to the image of Christ. Furthermore, his purpose in orchestrating my life is not to provide me with perfect circumstances but to make me more like His Son.

I think the analogy works; where I went wrong in my pre-college thinking, however, is assuming by my prideful human wisdom, and lack of faith that God would place me in a dark dungeon, and I would have to miserably trudge along for a few years. There is a difference between trusting God’s plan wherever it may lead, and just assuming the worst. I did the latter. I had a preconceived notion of how I thought God would work, without at all conceiving that his way was the better way. I resigned myself for the worst, instead of trusting God for the best.

Well I’m here now. The big mystery of going away to college is a mystery no longer. And what of all my fears, worries, and anxieties? Irvine is not perfect. It is weak in certain areas where I would like it to be strong; but any complaint I might muster has been completely overshadowed by the overwhelming faithfulness of God. With each blessing granted, prayer answered, and trial lovingly placed, I’ve seen that God’s plan truly is perfect, and far better than my own. I am thankful for the privilege of being here, and I am looking forward to the long journey to becoming more like Jesus in his humility, in his selflessness, and in his unconditional love.

2I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” (Psalm 16:2)

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3 thoughts on “Compatibility, Conditions, and Conforming to Christ

  1. Hmm, how often we feel entitled to have a “good college experience”, and that extends to a “good marriage” and a “good whatever”. (Good meaning “everything that we want”.) And it’s easy to forget/ignore than we don’t deserve any of it.

    When I think of marriage, that Paul Washer sermon sticks in my head a lot. “You mean God isn’t going to give me the perfect wife?” Oooh, I’m so naive.

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