A letter to a college student

To a girl who wants the best, and hates her life for having to settle with something not as good:

… although I don’t share the specific experience you have now, I know how it feels like when you are distressed by certain disappointment, disadvantage, detriment, or a prejudice, and worse yet, you can’t pinpoint what that is, let alone fight against it, you’re just unhappy with dissatisfaction.

In terms of people’s birth, family background, cultural background, upbringing, and natural gifts, the world has never been equal.  And the appearance of inequality stirs up all kinds of evil.  Jealousy, hatred (of others, of self and of God), and even murder.  All that started from Cain and Abel, the first two children of Adam and Eve.

It is a sin trap set up by Satan.  If the value of life were measured by what the person is born with and the privileges the person eventually comes to possess, the vast majority of people in this world should have no reason to live at all.

Even someone like you.  If you really come to know yourself and the world one day, you will realize how much advantage you have over even the majority of your generation in this country, much more so than others who live in the other parts of the world today.  Yet you are depressed because you are not given the best of the best.  You justify your feeling by saying that you are not after shallow material things, not into “trashy” lifestyles, not into lavish indulgences, but instead just feel bad you were denied access to certain type of success and happiness, or certain “class” so to speak, while some of the people you know seem to have it all made for themselves.  In other words, you are mad because you feel you were brought up with a wrong family, wrong culture, and wrong method.  You were dealt with a lousy hand of cards.

No matter how real and painful your experiences may be, your current feeling is not telling you the truth.

You know the definition of truth.  The Lord said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”   The truth must be liberating.  That is not a mere flavor of truth.  That is an absolute quality of truth.  Anything that puts your life into a miserable bondage is not truth, and cannot be truth by definition.

You live in a superficial social “truth”, which seems as real as it can be, but is telling lies to your mind and your soul, and you feel the pain because you are misled by the lies.  The lies are just variations of the Ancient Lie that was told in the Garden of Eden: “You have to get this for yourself in order to be happy, and it’s unfair and unfortunate for you not to have this, so you shouldn’t be happy about it.”  That is the Lie, told by the master deceiver.  Not only did the Father of All Lies deceive Eve and Adam, he made them feel that he had informed and empowered them with a “tip” (knowledge).  The man fell as a victim the moment he took the pride of self-justifying knowledge and became self-centered.

Once man is separated from God, he loses security, and will always judge his own life based on a comparison with others.  For this reason, the first son Cain killed his brother out of jealousy.  It was not a lack of morals in a general sense.  It was an unavoidable and natural outcome of the fallen man.

And Satan knows how to play to the fullest extent the weakness of natural man’s condition. His Lie has grown out of the Garden of Eden to become a vast net to snare everyone on earth who lives in flesh.

Look at today’s social media, especially social networking environment.  It’s all masterfully designed to inflict as much pain as possible on people’s soul (especially young people), and to alienate one’s soul from God (who is the true Cover and Anchor of human souls).  And it all comes with deceitful contradictions and ironies:  exciting things are designed to make people feel depressed to the end; pretty things are designed to make people feel worthless to the end; opportunities (“others” out there) are designed to make people lose hope by becoming less and less loyal and ending up having nothing to hold onto, and more.

I’m not saying that all these nice things you see others have are lies.  Great family background, good cultural background, wealth, beauty, academic and career success, these are all real, and good.  They’re not lies.  But Satan tells a great lie based on human reality, even the best part of it.  That’s how the master liar tells lies.  Every great lie is based on a great convincing foundation, otherwise it would not be able to deceive.

Again, I tell you what I’ve been telling you all the time.  Enjoy things that are good, but don’t fall into a big lie that the meaning of your life is based on possessing these good things.  Be happy for others when they’re blessed with the enjoyment of those good things, even when you are not.  But be faithful to your own portion and your own lot, and be firm in your own root of life in the Lord, because that’s how you own life is going to be measured at the end.

You are already enviably gifted.  I can name many great things in your life that not everyone has. A loving family to start with, and a financially stable family, the fortune to be born in America, healthy, smart, and pretty, etc.

But the greatest gift God has given you, other than eternal life in His Son Jesus Christ,  is the quality that’s inside you.  Very few people have the kind of ability to perceive deeper truth than you do.  This exceptional ability is also accompanied by a deep sense of justice you have had since you were a little child, again a precious thing that I am afraid most don’t have.

Your current problem, in practical terms, is that none of these exceptional qualities are actually appreciated by others at your age, especially in college.  It is today’s college environment that is wrong (I’m not kidding), not you.  So in a sense, the college is really not the best time for your type.

Once you leave college, you will be in a different environment in which those inner characters, the wisdom and the ability to perceive truth are going to play a more and more important role.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that the struggles will stop once you graduate from college. Struggles will continue, for good reasons, and for our benefits, to prepare us for the ultimate test when we come to an end of our life’s journey.  All things will be put under the test of fire, and only gold and silver that endures the test shall be found shining the last.

People are gifted in different ways.  A few are even gifted in seemingly almost every way.  But most people are gifted in just a few different ways.  Learn to appreciate your unique gifts.  If I were you, I wouldn’t trade them for other qualities.

Regardless of the gifts which we have received, however, our lives are going to be judged not according to what we have received, but what we have made out of what we received.  So be careful in comparing and judging what you have and what others have.  It is a misuse of your energy to focus on fighting for better appreciation by others.

But even more fundamentally, the meaning of life is not to live for the best of yourself.  Self-seeking, no matter how justified or glamorized it is, always turns out to be destructive in the end.  Today is the age of self-seeking.  Satan will use it to inflict as much damage as possible on your generation, but you are a child of God and you know better.

King Arthur said, man must serve for something that is greater than himself.  That is not a philosophical statement.  It is as practical as life can get.   Focus your eyes on greater things, even the greatest which is the Lord Himself, because only the King of Kings is worthy of all our life’s attention.

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