Hello, My Name is Van

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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In the winter of 1994, I left my apartment in Carbondale, Illinois, and drove to the Baptist Student Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University. My wife, Molly, was not feeling well and decided to stay home. We had spent the past few months searching for spiritual truth and meaning, reading the Bible, and praying. I hoped this advertised "God meeting" on campus might be helpful. So Molly rested, and I left.

The building seemed empty, and I thought about just leaving as I tried to open a few locked doors. I found an open one around back and saw about a dozen students inside. At first glance, they didn't seem like my kind of crowd. I was into partying. They looked like they were into honors algebra. Still I walked in.

A few of them noticed my deer-in-headlights look, welcomed me, and gave me a stick name tag. Three guys were talking in the corner, so I walked over and stood next to a tall guy whose name tag was nearly level with my eyes. "Hello, My Name Is . . . Van."

Trying to fit in, I said, "How's it going, Van?"

"I'm blessed," he said, grinning. It was one of the oddest responses I’d ever heard, and one of the best.

I made it through the meeting, and they invited me to church on Sunday. My wife and I decided to go, and we both responded to the Gospel with repentance and faith. We began new lives in Christ.

I still regularly retell my testimony, but I don't remember a lot about that day at the Baptist Student Center except Van's simple response, "I'm blessed."

I recently took a vacation with my wife and four kids. It was the longest vacation of our 13-year marriage. Indoor waterslides, wave pools, good food, and alone-time with my wife make for a good vacation. And honestly, I needed the break. My work has been wearing on me lately.

After our vacation, though, I immediately felt overwhelmed with work and people issues again. What happened? I thought vacations are supposed to help alleviate frustrations with work?

Renewal didn't come from vacation, but from Ephesians. Paul says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. . . . In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us" (Eph. 1:3,7-8).

Whenever I get frustrated and stressed with the daily grind, my greatest release comes from remembering that I'm already blessed in Christ. I don't work to make God happy. I work because God is already happy with me in Christ.

As you consider your struggles at work, remember that you are already blessed. We need to take time away from people problems and busy schedules. Vacations are good. But they aren't enough. We can only find contentment in Christ. So sink deep into the comfort of God and the knowledge of his goodness, and you will see your work through new eyes. He loves us. In Jesus we're blessed beyond imagination.

Read more of Steve McCoy at his blog, Reformissionary.