by Isaiah Armbrecht
I have now completed my first of college at Concordia University Nebraska. It was a year of growth and humility, of intellectual challenge and engaging discussion, of much sin and even more forgiveness. College is a different beast than high school, even for someone who went to a high school away from his hometown. It begins to equip you, even in a small way, for the inevitable separation from your parents and what you have grown to accept as the simple facts of life. To be sure, you remain (or should remain) respectful of your parents and in understanding of what has been handed down to you. Yet the college life fosters serious thinking about much of what you have learned in your previous years of education. No longer are you the bold freshman who thinks he knows everything there is to know and is ready to waltz through college on the way to whatever lies beyond. The stark reality is that there is a growing process and that involves much humility learned through various experiences, including suffering and loss. This life will not always be the best, brightest or boldest, especially when one goes through the rigors of college life, academically, emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.
Yet what has remained constant and strong is the faith given to me in my Baptism. Through the reading of God’s Word, the hearing of Absolution and preaching and the reception of the Lord’s Supper regularly, I have been fed, nourished and strengthened by Christ’s forgiveness. This forgiveness was sorely needed, for I sinned against God and my neighbor in thought, word and deed over and over again. Yet that sin did not and does not become my identity. I have been claimed by the Triune God in the waters of Holy Baptism, named there as a son of that very Triune God. To remind myself of this faith-bestowing act, I make the sign of the cross at the beginning and end of each day. This way I know that no matter what sin, strife or suffering I have gone through that day, I am forgiven and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb who was slain for the world’s sins and is now raised and ascended on high, the One who gives us the victory over sin, death and the devil.
So now, live in that forgiveness won for you at the cross and delivered to you through Christ’s means of grace! Christ’s forgiveness strengthens you in “faith toward God and fervent love toward one another,” as one of the prayers in the Lutheran Service Book following the Lord’s Supper so eloquently puts it. Dear Christian friend, I urge you to rest in the comfort of the Gospel, the confidence that Christ has freely given you that you might never doubt but fully believe in His promise to free you from death to life.
Isaiah Armbrecht was a 2015-216 Free to be Faithful Young Adult Ambassador.