By Stuart Estes, Ministry Team Leader • The Hedge, Univ. of Ark., Fayettville
The end of the spring semester is always a bittersweet time. It’s sweet because students feel the excitement of a break and new adventures. It’s sweet because students are wrapping up their classes, and they can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s sweet because we get to celebrate another year of hard work and accomplishments and work the Lord has done in us.
But it’s bitter, too. It’s a time of saying goodbye. It’s a time of walking into the unknown. For some it’s a final few minutes before they jump into a career. But for all, it’s a time of transition, and transitions are rarely easy.
One evening last month, Hanna, our kids, and I went to eat supper with a group of our students. It was a spur of the moment thing, but as I think back on that meal, I’m so happy the Lord brought us together. We were all happy to be together, and as we left, we said our goodbyes knowing we might not see each other for a while.
Truth is, I’m not impervious to these feelings. Sure, I continue the work of ministry over the summer months, but I also feel the highs and lows of the students who the Lord lets me serve as they leave for their summer plans.
I think in moments like this we must remember what the Lord said through Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing” (Eccl. 3:1, 4-5 ESV).
Life is cyclical. We experience many different emotions and events, but we experience them in the time the Lord would have us. All things are for His purposes and under His authority.
As Solomon goes on to say in Eccl. 1:14: “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.”
The spring semester of 2022 had bittersweet moments, but there’s nothing bitter about the enduring work the Lord chose to accomplish at The Hedge. All told, I think the sweet outweighs the bitter.
That’s what I see when I look back on the last month at The Hedge.