Live the Pace of Faith

Categories: For the Soul, Student Stories

Jacob in the Judean Wilderness last summer with the RELS 380 Physical Settings of the Bible class.
Jacob in the Judean Wilderness last summer with the RELS 380 Physical Settings of the Bible class.

 

My years at CBC have enriched my life on many levels. One lesson that the Holy Spirit has taught me – through instructors, classes, scripture, and ministry commitments – is the importance of taking a pace of faith.

A Fretful Pace

I began my CBC career feeling such excitement but also carrying life patterns and assumptions that drove me to take a pace for life that was unsustainable. A first reason for this was a fear of the future. The question of what I would do with my life in terms of vocation hung ominously over me. How would I put my gifts as an artist and a scholar to use? Where would my degree take me? Fierce anxiety around my significance or instrumentality for God diminished my ability to simply be faithful with the present.

I feared missing out on the fulfilment of my potential. The result was a tendency to take on too much responsibility at once.  I was rushed. Mental health and emotional barriers also took me out of the present and into the ominous future. I was typically over-committed and emotionally distant. Things came to a peak when my mom passed away in my fourth semester. The grief took me out of commission for a year – a year in which I was strongly confronted by the patterns I lived by which had exhausted me.

Developing a Pace of Faith

One obstruction to living a pace of faith was a hidden assumption that even though God placed me in CBC, the rest of my future was kind of up to me. Part of me didn’t trust that he would work out the placement of my steps. I am learning now, however, through scripture, the Spirit, and the guidance of instructors, to trust. Jesus knows my gifting. He’s not interested in wasting my capacity, but neither is he interested in placing me in a vocation prematurely.

As I’m reaching the end of a seventh semester, I am realizing once again how much I’ve learned. I’ve changed massively since my first year. Each year has been so necessary and if I could describe the net result of God’s work in me with one word, it would be freedom. I do not know precisely what God has for me to learn in my final three semesters but if prior years are any indication, whatever I learn will be necessary and worth it. Jesus knows where I’m meant to be 2 years from now. He also knows what I need to learn in order to be equipped for that season and seasons beyond.

Since God is guiding my steps, I can pace myself according to my present capacity and his equipping. I don’t have to demand performance from myself that I’m not yet ready for. Through these refining years, perhaps the most significant things that I have learned are these two:

  1. My significance to God is not dependant on my performance but on his love for me. I know it sounds basic, but it’s hard to trust sometimes.
  2. My instrumentality for God’s purposes is based primarily on a daily, faithful pursuit of Christ and not on any ideal vocation or notable achievement. Sustainability matters. Faithfulness matters.

I pray that God would enable me to take each day as a gift and teach me to steward my gifts faithfully and patiently.

Jacob in Caesarea Phillipi
Jacob in Caesarea Phillipi

Treasuring the Present

I’m learning to trust that I’m meant to be where I am now. I’m learning to moderate my pace according my actual capacity – with realistic consideration for mental health restrictions and the grief for my mom that is still real for me and my family. An aside: the comfort I received from the CBC community in the season of my mom’s passing was incredible. The sympathy enabled me to have compassion for myself instead of demanding super-human performance.

The present is precious, truly. I’m learning to treasure the incredible privilege it is to spend this portion of my life studying and growing. Sometimes when I sit in class, I remember the village in the Philippines where I grew up. My parents were missionaries. I consider how the people there have limited access to scriptural instruction and then I compare their situation with the outstanding instruction I receive at CBC. It is no small privilege to take these classes and study under these professors.

I delivered my second sermon last week in Homiletics class – it wasn’t bad! The Pastoral Worship Leadership class that I’m in designed and led the advent chapel this week. We conducted it well, facilitating a powerful moment of anticipation for Christ’s restoration of everything. Along with academic instruction, I have some milestone achievements in practical skills to celebrate this semester. These are precious years.

I encourage my fellow CBC students to take a pace of faith. Your God is directing your steps and using these years to grow you into instruments for his purposes. Treasure these years and enjoy the awesome classes and stellar community. Invest as you are able, knowing that your significance to God doesn’t depend on your performance. Remember that your instrumentality for God’s purposes depends more-so on daily faithfulness than on being in any vocation and making any achievement. Walk in stride with Jesus Christ; take a pace of faith. It’s worth it.

Blessings – Jacob Harada.

Jacob Harada lives in North Vancouver, BC. He’s completing the third year of his BA in Biblical Studies, minoring in Worship Arts.