Grace

It’s hard to say goodbye.

My family has been a part of Grace University since the beginning. The very beginning: my great-grandfather, the Rev. August Ewert, was one of the ten Mennonite ministers who founded the school. He served as business manager for twenty years and taught missions. My grandparents, Al and Irene, met at Grace and were married in what is now the library, back when that was the chapel. My parents also met at Grace, and I earned my bachelor of science there in 2005. I was a third-generation member of the Grace Chorale, singing soprano like my grandma. Next year, the doors will close.

For me, Grace has been my family and my church as well as my school. My time there was a gift to my heart and soul as well as my mind. So it has been for thousands of students who walked its halls, and by proxy tens and hundreds of thousands who they have known and served and labored with and taught. How can we stand to see it end?

Grace will end. Miracles are possible but should not be expected. There is no blessing which God may not see fit to remove, whether it be wealth, or health, or family, or community, or position, or institution. Only two things last forever: the Word of God and the souls of men.

I don’t know what God is doing. I don’t know why he has allowed this to happen. I really can’t say why now and not twenty years ago: those of us who’ve been around know that there have been close calls before. God’s ways are not our ways.

I do know that God is not slow nor neglectful. I know that he sees, knows, cares, and has the power to do what he wills. He will not be thwarted, not even by our foolishness or pride. I know from personal experience that there are lessons to be learned and wisdom to be found in failure and in loss that cannot be had any other way. I know that when everything else is in chaos and doubt that God alone is our refuge and strength. I know that my identity cannot—must not—be in this school, anymore than in my family, my church, my job, my race, or my country. It must be in Christ alone, first and last.

All that we have loved about Grace has its source in God. It is not ours to command or demand. All that we have loved about Grace is not peculiar to it. Versions and flavors exist elsewhere, have existed many places, and will go on existing. The work that God has done through Grace will continue, and God will work through other schools and in other ways. It’s hard when the trusty well goes dry, but rest assured the water flows in another place. God can lead us there if we let him, if we’re willing to listen and obey.

So let us celebrate what God has done at Grace, and let us mourn our loss. Let us come together to support and comfort and encourage the students, faculty, and staff whose lives are now upended, but let us not forget why this work existed at all. Grace was not founded for its own glory, nor for the glory of its teachers, staff, or students, but all for the glory of God. If this is how God has chosen to be glorified, then may we glorify him in it.

To the Praise of His Glory.

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