The Real World: YL College Welcome Week

Cat Ryden August 18, 2021

After a month on assignment and an actual real vacation with dear friends, acclimating to the “real world” is harder than I remember. It is darker than I recall. Days are shorter (and sometimes seem longer). Life looks different. It’s not a vacation. It’s not camp life. It’s not Narnia. 

Can I make a prediction? As we venture out into the adolescent culture in our towns, there will be lots and lots of students. As we hand out freebies at Welcome Week and invite our friends to Club, there will be lots and lots of students. As we invite them to Fall Retreats and overnights, there will be lots and lots of students.

But just as the hollowness of our culture ensures it, these students don’t want stuff thrown at them.

They want a friend. Someone trustworthy, and someone who shows up.

They deeply desire an incarnational representation of the One who has shown up on their behalf and on behalf of their sin. They wonder if this kind of purpose exists in the real world. 

We are home from camps and summer vacations and may I remind us that THIS is the real world, and it is in desperate need of a Savior. College folks are dying for a reason to live, for a purpose, for a true and trustworthy friend. They need Jesus. More than the newest movements, causes, or trends, more than the “perfect” jobs, more than living up to someone’s idea of “good enough,” our campuses need a Savior. August for many of us means “back to life,” and we are reminded that we need Jesus and we need the power of the gospel in the minutes and hours of our days. We need to know that we are deeply loved and known by the Creator of the Universe. We are pursued by Him and given purpose. HE defines us. He certainly doesn’t need us, but He sure does want us. This real life may be darker than our assignments, vacation, or summer-time bliss. But even so, He is good, He pursues, He provides, and He loves.

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