From one day to the next, one year to the next, newspaper headlines and CNN broadcasts don’t seem to change. Armies invade neighboring countries. Suicide bombers blow up a bus.
Assassins topple governments. Earthquakes level major cities. Politicians steal the public blind. Something else causes cancer. Another Hollyweirdo ODs. And some lunatic is loose in public.
Things aren’t much better on campus. A nutcase unloads an assault rifle at innocents in the parking lot. Fights break out almost daily. A major drug raid leads to seventeen student arrests. The homecoming queen gets pregnant. The football coach keels over with a heart attack. Your car is busted into again. Your significant other begins dating someone else. And you flunk a chem midterm.
On the home front, your parents call a family meeting to announce their pending divorce. Your sister runs screaming to the bathroom. Your brother is his usual slob self. Your aunt with her armpit-hair-of-a cat comes to stay on one-day’s notice. And you get laid off at work.
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the chaos of life around you. There are days when nothing or nobody makes sense. You’re convinced you’re the last surviving sane person, and even then you wonder if you’re not crazy yourself.
On days when I feel like that, it helps me to tell God and get the burden off my shoulders. That doesn’t mean things will change overnight . . . or necessarily at all. It just makes me feel better to know that God understands how fragile I feel.
That God understands and cares about the intimate details of our lives is made clear in the Bible, a sort of Owner’s Manual for the human race. It is not, however, a technical manual of schematic diagrams and charts, nor a cold, dead, dated document. It’s at once love story, autobiography, biography, self-help text, poetry anthology, compilation of personal letters, songbook, log of genealogy, how-to manual, and collection of prophecy.
It contains stories from men and women who have trusted God completely— providing guidance and inspiration for you—and it details life histories of people who have just as completely disregarded God giving you fair warning.
Above all, the Bible is God’s way of stepping out of the shadows and making himself known. It tells us exactly what he’s like, what he expects of us, why things aren’t the way they ought to be, and what he intends to do about it.
It is my hope that The One Year Alive Devotions for Students will help you better understand God and the Bible, which is his final word on how to experience a full, rich life. It guides you and helps you maneuver through every difficulty, whether it’s your fears about next year, your tears about a broken relationship, or just the itchiness of living in your own skin. God knows and cares about these matters and more.
In James 4:8 the Bible says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”
The Message puts it this way: “Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.” So take God up on the promise by spending time together on those days you feel like a human hockey puck. It’s a great relief to sense God’s presence.
As you read this book in the coming days and weeks, you’ll discover that God wants to be the still point of your turning, twisting, ever-changing world. You’ve got his Word on it.