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Turn life’s exiles into exultations, Griffin tells Chapel

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

There are a lot of different ways to say it.

Dr. Tim Griffin, GCU’s Pastor and Dean of Students, speaks to Chapel on Monday. (Photo by Gillian Rea)

“Bloom where you’re planted.”

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Or, as Dr. Tim Griffin told Chapel on Monday morning at Grand Canyon University:

“I think that’s an expectation that God has for us, when we’re on the mountaintop and when we’re in the valley, that we would decide that we will flourish in that setting. No matter how difficult it is. No matter if it’s at the end of a judgment from God.”

GCU’s Pastor and Dean of Students cited Jeremiah 29:4-14, in which God told the Israelites when they were banished to Babylon:

 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

That last verse is an important point, Griffin said: Wherever we are, we should work to help that place prosper no matter what we think of that locale.

It’s not easy for young people to grasp this, Griffin told the students in attendance. They are living what may be the best years of their lives on a university campus, where they are surrounded by peers and can dress however they like most of the time.

They have dreams. They have expectations. And maybe those dreams and expectations will be fulfilled right out of college with their first job.

But what if …

“I don’t mean to suggest that if you don’t get the job that you’re hoping for that God has banished you from His blessing,” Griffin said. “This is a very unique passage of Scripture that’s talking about the people of God in the Old Testament days, the children of Israel who were experiencing something very unique to them.

The Love International band performed at the stat of Chapel. (Photo by Gillian Rea)

“But there were certain things about God that He was illustrating to them that, for you and I, should give us something to hang onto when we find ourselves in less than desirable settings. And one of them is on us – and that is to flourish where He places us.”

One of the benefits of getting older, Griffin said, is that we see things more clearly – life lessons have replaced those expectations.

He told of how, when he moved his family to Colorado, he had entrusted his house in California to a real estate adviser and was swindled – the man pocketed the rent, and the house went into foreclosure. But when the Griffins moved back to California to pastor another church there, a woman in the congregation offered him a heaven-sent deal to buy her home.

“I was embarrassed, and God had sent an angel to help us find our way out of that great life lesson,” Griffin said. “… Now it’s a simple story that I tell you because God taught me some things about His faithfulness to us even when we were in the midst of difficulty.”

Eventually, God led him to his current role at GCU, which he called “a testimony to God’s grace.”

“I am the most blessed person on this campus, and I know it,” he said. “God is faithful. And so as difficult as it may be for you today, decide you’re going to flourish where you’re at. And don’t give up hope, because God has not given up hope on you. He has a future for you. He’s got plans for you.

“So don’t lose hope today. Don’t lose hope today or tomorrow, because God is faithful to you, and He will bless you.”

● Chapel replay.

● Next Monday’s Chapel speaker will be Ashley Wooldridge of Christ’s Church of the Valley.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or rick.vacek@gcu.edu.

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