God has the right answers, Griffin tells Chapel
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Gillian Rea
GCU News Bureau
It’s a scary time of year for students, and it has nothing to do with Halloween.
Midterm exams. Those blasted midterms. For many students, especially those new to the university experience, midterms tend to haunt their every waking minute for a few weeks.
So Dr. Tim Griffin, Pastor and Dean of Students at Grand Canyon University, wanted to address some of what they may be feeling when he spoke to Chapel on Monday morning. But he wanted to go beyond having the right test scores.
Griffin began his talk with a series of student-oriented survey questions that elicited chatter and laughter from the large crowd in GCU Arena.
“Has your roommate borrowed your clothes?”
“Have you found Mr. or Ms. Right yet? … I’m talking about the right professor to help you get through college.”
“While we’re on the subject, have you fallen in love and out of love already in the first six weeks?”
“Anybody crash on their skateboard yet?”
“How many crashed today?”
“Anybody here already changed your major?”
And then the one that caused seemingly every hand in the Arena to go skyward:
“Who here has forgotten where you parked your car?”
But whatever travails they’re going through as they try to navigate college and midterms and skateboards and anything else that can get them off-balance, Griffin wanted them to remember this:
“Sometimes an adjustment to our perspective can change our experience,” he said.
His Scripture reference was the book of John, which chronicles all these things Jesus did while on Earth:
- Changed the water into wine at the wedding celebration
- Clears the temple of the money changers
- Has a profound conversation with Nicodemus
- Interacts with the Samaritan woman at the well
- Healed the lame man in Bethesda
- Walks on water and calms a storm
- Feeds the thousands with five loaves and two small fish
- Raises Lazarus from the dead
But when it came time for Jesus to go to Jerusalem for the Passover feast, a scene laid out in John 12:12-19, Jesus’ disciples couldn’t understand why He wanted to ride in on a donkey’s colt.
They would have thought He should come in on a chariot or white steed after performing so many miracles and signs. But He knew He was going to Jerusalem to suffer a horrible death.
John 12:16 spells out what they learned later:
At first His disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that these things had been done to Him.
Griffin told a funny story of a time in his life when he had to shift gears. He was buying his first car and fell in love with a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle, only to discover that it had a manual transmission – and he had never driven a stick before.
After Griffin stalled out the car over and over across the dealership’s parking lot, the salesman also discovered something: It had the wrong knob on the stick shift. What looked like the direction for first gear was actually where second gear was.
It is symbolic, Griffin said, for many other experiences he has had in his own life, never quite knowing at the time what direction he should go. He notices a similar sense of consternation from students when he meets with them.
“Sometimes I sit at my desk or I sit out in front of the Union or I sit at Chick-fil-A and we have those conversations and everything within me wants to be able to share with you what I think God is up to, and sometimes I’m like, ‘Man, I have no clue,’” he said.
“And maybe none of us will know until we get to heaven and we look back on this experience with God and now all of a sudden all of it makes sense and we see what God was doing in our life.”
But he knows one thing for sure: God is always leading us in the right direction.
“Just trust Him. Just trust Him,” Griffin said. “Even though you don’t know what He’s doing today or what He was doing last summer or maybe last fall, trust Him. Believe in Him. Walk with Him. Lean into Him. Even though you don’t know, trust Him.”
Griffin’s closing thoughts:
“This is what I’m asking God to do for us today, is to give us a perspective that may be different than the one that you came in with.
“And if you feel like you’re confused or frustrated with what’s going on right now in your life and maybe nobody knows it – maybe the pot is just starting to boil a little bit and you can sense a little bit of frustration and anxiety starting to bubble up within your soul about what He’s doing or what He’s not doing – trust Him.”
● Chapel replay.
● Next week: Musical Worship Chapel with Love International
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].