Jim Cymbala addresses students at Friday convocation
Liberty students pray for each other during Friday convocation in the Vines Center.
Liberty University students were blessed on Friday by an encouraging and inspirational message from guest speaker Jim Cymbala.
Cymbala is the popular author of several Christian life books, including “Fresh Wind Fresh Fire.” He serves as senior pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, a church he started with his wife more than 30 years ago — with just a handful of people and a boatload of faith. Now more than 10,000 people benefit from their ministry weekly.
At Friday’s convocation, Cymbala taught from the book of Isaiah, pointing out how the prophet’s faith was tried by God to build him up for future success.
He began with the familiar verse, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).
“Everyone here in this room, if you love the Lord Jesus Christ, God wants to bless your life,” Cymbala said. “But, His way of blessing you, developing you and making you a blessing for others is not the way we look at it at all.”
Cymbala used perfect simplicity to describe God’s one plea for our life.
“Whatever your priorities are and whatever you’d like from life, I’ll tell you what God has for you: He says, ‘I want to make you men and women of faith, because nothing blesses me more than when my children trust, when they have a confidence that I’m going to take care of them,’” Cymbala said.
Cymbala shared an experience he had with his first granddaughter while walking in New York City. He described how they began to approach a group of men who were arguing when his granddaughter reached out her hand, “as if to say, ‘Papa, hold my hand.’”
“She’s given me a lot of presents since then but none of them will ever touch what she gave me that day,” he said. “ … That’s what God wants from us,” he continued. “He doesn’t want us to climb a mountain; He just wants you to put your hand out and say, ‘God in the hard times, I’m going to trust you.’”
Cymbala closed with words of encouragement for Liberty’s student body.
“So when your back is against the wall and you don’t know what to do and you’re going through pain that you can’t explain, just remember God knows, He permitted it because He’s going to build your faith, He’s going to teach you how to pray out of necessity, and He’s going to give you a testimony.”