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Learning to Walk in Faith and Not By Sight

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” (Martin Luther King Jr.). Living in the world’s most influential and powerful city, you are often reminded that people walk the streets of New York at a blistering speed of 20 mph. It is a city where diplomats from around the world sit at the United Nations trying to solve the world’s problems; however, they inevitably fail or have little power to stop the tanks, social uprising protests, and inequality that surround the world.

It is the center for fashion where the motto of the town is “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” It is a place where people dream of being the stars on Broadway or dream being the wolf on Wall Street instead of a faithful lamb. Living as believers in New York City, it feels like fools marching in the dark…learning to walk in faith and not by sight on our campus.

Falling Forward

What do I mean by falling forward? I thought about one of the greatest commencement speeches back in 2011 at UPenn. Denzel Washington spoke on failure – not a typical speech for a graduating class. He brought up a new concept of falling; he called it “falling forward.” Often times, we are told that we need to fall back on something when we fail in life, our career, and school. Denzel Washington jokingly said falling forward allows you to see what you are hitting when you fall. It’s a pretty scary experience. Yet failure is part of our walk. We learn that in everything we do for the Lord, there will be failure and that how we move forward from it requires faith and trust.

For the past couple of months, I have been reading and pondering on where God has taken me and my walk in faith. I remember recounting all the failures and attempts when I was a student and looking back at each step led me closer to God. Despite falling, it kept me going and encouraged me to trust in God. I found that as a student, things don’t pan out, our prayer meetings are few, and the world tells us to turn back, causing everything on our campuses to seem dead. But there is a quiet resolve knowing that God is still working and that His work bears fruit for His kingdom.

What we do even in our failures has purpose to help us grow more, depending daily on Him and looking upward even though the world would call us fools. N.T. Wright said, “What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether.”

Marching Through the Dark with God Alongside Us, Anything is Possible

“If we hold on, and though we carry scars, God is with us marching through the dark. Turn the light on, and hope will bring us far, yes the fools are marching through the dark. So turn the light on, cuz home is not too far, God is with us marching through the dark” (Fools Marching in the Dark -Tim Be Told).

Living in New York, I face many obstacles and the forces of the enemy that try to keep people in the dark. People are not seeing the hope and the light that Jesus brings. Yet despite seeing so many campuses in the dark, I have so much hope and passion to see one day, consistent prayer covering this city. As a student, I was often discouraged by the darkness and overwhelming odds and the word of the world telling me that what you’re doing is foolish. Yet as I was listening to the song by a band named Tim Be Told, it reminded me that everything we do for the Kingdom, though it seems foolish, it brings about a breakthrough.

As Phillip Yancey said, “Perhaps something like this was what Jesus had in mind when he turned again and again to his favorite topic, the kingdom of God. In the soil of this violent disordered world, an alternative community may take root. It lives in hope of a day of liberation, in the meantime it aligns itself with another world, not just spreading rumors but planting settlements in advance of the coming reign.”

As we continue living and holding tight to the message of the work done on the Cross, we shouldn’t feel discouraged but walk in faith and not by sight because often times we may not see the entire picture. God will one day, as it is written in Revelation 21, make all things new. Keep planting on your campus and march forward.

smaller picture (160x240)Anthony Deng is the New York City Metro Campus Coordinator for Campus Renewal. He leads and coordinates volunteers for events such as One Cry and helps facilitate the New York City Metro Area student core team. Anthony was born and raised in New York City graduated from CUNY the City College of New York, and has a B.A in History and Asian Studies. Anthony gives New York City tours to freshmen of various campuses. On his tour, he teaches and shows students various hidden gems of New York City. On the side, he loves to collect college sweatshirts and t-shirts.  In addition, he loves to play and watch basketball and football. He an avid fan of the Pacers & Colts.