Truth and relationship. Some of the first words in my Summit notebook. Truth and relationship eventually saved my life–both currently on earth and also for eternity.
However, during my days as a student walking around the Summit hotel, I found myself dreading these words. I was actively drowning in habitual dishonesty and fearful introversion. At the same time, I was surrounded by impressively vibrant people and a unique environment that embraced these terms with overwhelming joy.
Yet I could not embrace a worldview based on truth or relationships and certainly not with joy. I was not one of the students who came to Summit with arguments to sort out. I came with apathy and hidden tears that desperately needed to be released. And God, in his abounding, sovereign grace, brought me out
Summit’s lectures and small groups exposed my uneasy heart and my disengaged intellect to a refreshing supply of meaningful knowledge and wisdom. The worship at Summit taught my heart to ponder. For a very long time, I had not pondered the wonderful works of God. It was so good to do this again.
Summit’s environment flowed with confident, pure, just, hope-filled ideas. We learned about the incredible mathematics behind the creation story, the radical statistics of being alive, and tactics on how to destroy arguments that end up hurting people. Many of these ideas were fleshed out in conversations about doubt, pain, and suffering. My ears perked up.
Everyday these ideas echoed and flowed through the halls, but I found them muddied up with the lies in my head. I was most certainly unsatisfied with my condition until this point–quiet misery –but the isolation I despised was ironically and unfortunately comforting to me.
Spiritual and emotional depravity were the core foundation of my incomplete and thoroughly distorted worldview, and the fruit of this worldview was never-ending dissatisfaction. The contradicting mixture of ideas that filled my mind had to be dealt with. Then one day in a lecture, I heard the following statement:
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects.
Cue the proverbial lightbulb above my head lighting up so brightly that it popped. I know – quite dramatic. But when you see the entire world for years on end through a clouded lens of anxiousness, that light is SO. BRIGHT. That very sentence sped through my ears and crashed heavily as it collided with my inner turmoil. It was the catalyst for realizing that my lifestyle was incompatible with the one I found myself desperately yearning for.
I began to consider a new possibility. Maybe I wasn’t able to rejoice in truth or relationships because I was actively rejecting them. What would happen if I put aside my repudiations and clung to the worldview that I had never embraced? The core of the worldview I had not embraced? Abundant life.
It’s the abundance of John 8:32 and 36 (ESV): “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Additionally, in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free
I decided that I wanted to be done with the chaos, but my soul was stuck. I needed God’s help to get out. I needed perfect love that could cast out my fears. The following week I noted more ideas that I thought were very good to ponder: “Hope only exists in the face of a trial. So, what is the object of hope? Hope is a vision for a better future. A way to arrive at a final goal, built from courage to try.”
I had trials. Unfortunately, I often made additional and unnecessary trials for myself. Such is the way of people, isn’t it? Jesting aside, I found the lifestyle of hopelessness exceedingly draining. I needed to heed the command given to Joshua: to be strong and courageous. To put off dismay, because the God who was going to be the new, better, holy, redemptive foundation of my worldview had already made the way.
So there I was. I had one choice. It came down to this: I could embrace or abandon the truth. What I mean by truth is not some vague concept of subjectively benevolent ethics. No. Because Truth is a person. His name is Jesus. The Messiah. Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck eloquently proclaims in The Wonderful Works of God:
Grace and truth have come by Him and are inseparable from His person
Jesus’s attributes and work on Golgotha change everything. He is my purpose. My grace. He has given me second chances in countless situations, including the courage to resist the lie that suicide would make things better. I could go on, but know that Truth has not left one iota or dot of my life untouched.
This is not to say that I am a perfect person today. But WOW. Day by day, despite my sinfulness, the Lord calls me into a better way. Into abundant life. And nothing can convince me to turn back. So, until he calls me home, I will be telling of the mighty works of God. He is worthy of all praise and honor. Maranatha. (Our Lord cometh!)
By Noah Lykins
Noah Lykins is a Colorado native and studied Inclusive Early Childhood Education here at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Most of his family–his older brother, parents, and grandma–live nearby, also in CO! Noah loves intentional fellowship, reading, road cycling, listening to music, and horchata.