I went back to my college reunion last weekend. It was great seeing old friends and I longed for more one on one time with each of them! While I’m the same people person I was back then, I am radically different spiritually than I was in those years. It was fun to watch the expression on some of the faces when I told them I graduated from seminary and now spent my time doing ministry work!
You see, like many of us, I took a left turn my freshman year of college. While I entered college a believing Christian, I was quickly drawn into a sinful lifestyle that I didn’t depart from for a number of years. It wasn’t until I participated in a study of Romans eighteen years later, that I finally realized the depth of my sin. Romans 1:21-25 convicted me: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.” The study asked us to plug our name into this verse: “For although Lisa knew God, she neither glorified him as God, nor gave thanks to him, but Lisa’s thinking became futile and her foolish heart was darkened…” At that point, I realized God was speaking to me, and I finally realized the depth of my sin. It was a turning point in my life because I had never really understood how far I had fallen away from our holy, righteous God.
The good news is, that I understood grace after this experience. Once I repented for all those lost years, I knew I had been forgiven. I am thankful that God is a patient God, as He waited a long time for me to “get it.” In a sense, that was a “reunion” as well; however, it was with God.
The final event of my college reunion was the football game. I didn’t pay much attention to the game, but I do know it wasn’t a pleasant homecoming experience for the players. Unfortunately, they did not pick up their first win of the season. When it was time to make the drive back to Flower Mound, I said my goodbyes to all my old buddies then headed out. Ironically, the last person I saw was the person I used to be co-captain of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes with my freshman year in college, right around the time I took my left turn away from God. He was now a very successful coach at the school and knew about my seminary degree. He said, “Lisa, we need to bring you back sometime to speak at chapel.” I told him I’d like that. Then he added, “And by the way, you look great!” After feeling a little old most of the day, those were encouraging words for me as I left my alma mater! I don’t think it was any coincidence that I ran into him last. He represented the last service to God that I participated in prior to rededicating my life to Christ and I think God was saying, “Lisa, you took a left turn after you arrived at college, but don’t you see as you leave this place, you are on the right path again.” I had to praise God once again for His grace and mercy.
If you’ve taken a left turn in your life, which many people have at one time or another, it is not too late to turn around. God is waiting patiently for you to give him control of your life, so that he can use you for His glory. I can tell you from experience, that it is a much more fulfilling way to live.