For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it. (Ecclesiastes 7:12)
The college experience reveals the quality and depth of a student’s faith. Hopefully, students grow spiritually and strengthen their faith through the challenges of the college experience. Sadly, others walk away from their faith or compartmentalize their faith as they struggle to navigate the complexities of college life.
Tanner Besosa has graciously agreed to let us go to college with him as he starts his second year at Florida Free Bible, Missionary, & Work Training Center. BMW trains missionaries and is underwritten by Teen Missions International, Inc. He is taking six classes this semester: Miner Prophets, General Epistles, Ethics, Daniel and Revelation, as well as Biblical Psychology. The sixth, Pauline Epistles, is the one he looks forward to most. Says Tanner, “The teacher of this class is one of the wisest men of God I know, who thinks through the deep spiritual matters of the Bible in the same way I do. It makes it easier and better for me to understand, and for me to get excited about.”
So, what are the faith challenges facing Tanner during this crucial time in his life? An article posted on the Cedarville University website lists ten challenges faced by Christian Students as they start college. Over the next few weeks we will explore each of these from Tanner’s perspective.
Challenge 1: Faith identity
In high school, faith was associated and supported by familiar places and people. Now those keystones are missing. Does it matter?
Tanner tells us that during his time at BMW, “There are some things that I do not hold the same as my father and mother, nothing major, but still small differences. [However,] I do find their faith very supporting and they are still my greatest teacher in the faith, and when I hit hard problems they always point me back in the way that I should go.”
When asked why he believes, Tanner replies, “This is a question that changed not too long ago for me. I used to say I have seen the change in my life and I feel Him inside of me, but Jeremiah tells us, “the heart is deceitful above all things,” so that I cannot trust what I feel.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
Beyond feelings, continues Tanner, “I have found that I must have faith in Christ above all things. That when the enemy tries to make me feel far from God and downcast, that my heart is lying to me, and I must hold on to my faith in Christ above all.”
His biggest challenge this year
You might think that the biggest challenge in college is the course load, but for Tanner the challenge is to measure up.
“The greatest challenge this year,” he says, “will be that we have a group of new Bible students. I want to be able to do as good of a job as those that helped me fit in and find the groove of everything when I had first started.” Beyond good works, Tanner has “been in prayer for the new students.”
In closing, Tanner wishes the best for those of us back home. “I’d like to thank all of you back home praying for me and supporting me as I am here growing in our Lord, and I pray that He is blessing your life every day!”
Next time, we’ll explore the Freedom Challenge faced by all college students living far from home.