Finding the Son while Serving Courageously

Finding the Son while Serving Courageously

As many of us may have experienced recently, going outside and seeing the normal sunrise stretched brilliantly across the sky has been difficult…instead we find ourselves looking all around as if the sun has simply evaporated into thin air…”where’s the sun?”…but there is nothing but a smoke-filled abyss and a feeling of nothingness!

Isn’t that how many of us feel today? A worldwide pandemic, a divided country, looting and the destruction of cities everywhere, hatred, racism, violence, fires, floods, destruction, loss of jobs, fear of future…and we ask ourselves, “Where’s the SON? Where is God when we need him most?” Perhaps we’re looking in the wrong places, through a wrong lens, through our own expectations of how things are “supposed” to be. Even with that lens, its narrowed and often clouded with a minuscule understanding of how God works and what his promises really mean.

In looking at FPU’s five thematic goals, (Growing Strategically, Engaging Collectively, Innovating Creatively, Serving Courageously and Transforming Purposefully), I can’t help but be thankful that at this time, that we at FPU get to point others to the son through Serving Courageously! Throughout the last six months, I am encouraged as stories emerge involving our regional staff that show how, (even in the midst of our own uncertainties), we are finding ways to serve our communities.

For example: from our Bakersfield campus, Misty Garcia created and delivered care packages for women in need; David Black from North Fresno delivered cookies to local seniors; Michelle Blancas from our Visalia Campus volunteered with Serve Tulare and worked with the homeless community; Elizabeth Torres from the GDC Office took up a collection and provided food to the FPU Sunbird food bank, as well as donated food to Foster Youth of Fresno; Anna Silveira from our Merced Campus volunteered with Merced County 4H and created an online cooking class as well as provided meals for teachers at a local private pre-school; April Holloway, also from Merced, served at the Merced County Food Bank; Raquel Garcia (along with some of our Visalia staff) partnered with CityServe and Seven Oaks Church and organized a free drive-through food give-away at the Visalia Campus; Pridjet Arikpo from North Fresno helped with the 2020 census gathering; and I had the honor of writing and setting up an online women’s Bible study called “Navigating the New Normal” for those who needed a place to connect to God and to each other.

I’m sure there are many more examples of how the FPU staff and faculty continue to point others to the “son” through courageous service, even when it means pushing through our own days when our perception and vison appears clouded. It’s a constant reflection of who we are as the FPU family, and how our teams continue to find ways to reflect the core identity of who we are as an institution.

In John 13, we read about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Here he is, God’s son, aware of the pending betrayal from Judas and the tortuous death he was about to endure…and yet he stoops down, removes his outer garment (the very thing that could impede his humble service) and sacrificially demonstrates the Father’s love. He modeled the true servant’s heart and did so courageously.

So next time we ask, where’s the SON? Know that he’s in you and me as we continue to remove that which can impede our opportunity to serve courageously…to serve each other, our students and our communities. He’s right where he’s been all along, waiting for us to lean into the hope of the things we cannot see. He’s sitting on the throne, right next to the Father; he hasn’t stepped down, he hasn’t stopped loving, he hasn’t stopped being present in every heartbreak, every disappointment, every loss…he’s still there.

Our hope cannot be in our circumstances, our politics, our loved ones…it can only be in what CANNOT be seen; our hope can only rest on the promise that he is still there in the midst of it all, and he “will work ALL things together for good, for those that are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).


Denise Baronian

Director of the Graduate and Degree Completion Admission Office