All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.
Andrews University’s Week of Prayer takes place every semester. Every day that week, students are invited to Pioneer Memorial Church to partake in a seminar by a guest speaker, making this an opportunity to commune with God daily.
This week of prayer’s speaker was Pastor Deblaire Snell. He is the author of six books, including “Almost Home,” “New Normals,” “Leap Year,” and “Making Christianity Great Again.” According to the Oakwood website, his favorite text is 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Pastor Snell chose the title “Get Unrealistic” as the focus of his seminars. The reason for this title, he explained, was because faith is not realistic. It is not physically graspable, and in order to get ahold of spirituality, we must ourselves become unrealistic, let ourselves believe in the unbelievable. Pastor Snell encouraged us to realize that not everything makes sense, but God is the one who makes and made sense. Many people go through life saying they are faithful, but they always have backup plans aplenty, justifying that it makes sense to have a safety net. While common sense is very important, you should not elevate it above God. People plan, but God has His own way of doing things, even if it means overriding human plans. This week of prayer was full of examples of spiritual bravery and personal experiences of steadfast faith. One of the most notable ones was the story of Jairus. The way pastor Snell presented it showed us that God keeps us watching others be blessed to show us His power. He also replayed this idea that we have to be intentional in documenting what God has done in our lives. Humans have a natural reflex to discard good memories and focus on the bad, but we should never forget the numerous times that God has kept His promises to us.
“I felt the speaker was very engaging, his message came back full circle. It was very structured and relatable to people our age,” says Ashley Ramos (junior, health science). “For future Weeks of Prayer, I would say it’s important to continue to put a lot of thought into the speaker and their message because it really paid off this time.” The only criticism she had about the experience was that it needed to be made more clear when it was time to stand or sit down—as many have noticed, the audience was very lax in this aspect. When asked what should be improved for next year, Valerie Akinyi (senior, political science) commented on reducing the altar calls at the end of sermons. “It makes me feel like they only care about the numbers,” she remarked. The calls for baptism, according to her, are very frequent and may seem insistent to the students.
All in all, the students much appreciated the message shared by Pastor Snell and learned how to “get unrealistic” to be able to enjoy God’s presence in their lives to an even better extent. We are thankful for a week of spiritual learning and a wonderful message which taught us to never stop rejoicing and to live through faith rather than through sense.
The Student Movement is the official student newspaper of Andrews University. Opinions expressed in the Student Movement are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, Andrews University or the Seventh-day Adventist church.