Senior Q&A: Jacob Jenness

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How has your view of God changed or been strengthened since coming to NWC?
 

Before coming to Northwestern, I honestly remember thinking that I know most of what a Christian needed to know about God. I thought I knew who He was and what role He was supposed to play in my life. I remember thinking that going to a Christian school such as Northwestern would help fill in the cracks of my knowledge about God – I already knew most of it, but it would be nice to know the nitty-gritty details. I also remember the moment I realized how disillusioned I was, and that I barely knew God at all. 

All throughout high school I had one goal: to look like I was a good kid and a good Christian. I now look back and realize how toxic that was to me. My faith wasn’t about being a genuine, authentic Christian, but rather about how I appeared to other people.  At the time, I thought this ideology would translate well into life at Northwestern. I thought that all the guys on the football team and students across campus were going to be goody-goodies like me who didn’t swear, who didn’t drink, and who always had a fake smile on their face. To my surprise, my expectations were not met during my first few weeks of football camp and class. Because of my unmet expectations, I began to think that everybody else had it wrong and I made the wrong college choice. However, I believe that God was working in me and through the people I surrounded myself with because my view of God began to dramatically grow, evolve, and change – even though I was just beginning to scratch the surface of who God actually was.  Over the course of my Northwestern career through football, classes, FCA, SSP’s, and everyday interactions with people, I can’t even begin to describe the many ways in which my view of God has grown!  

Let me share just two seemingly simple things I have learned about God during my time here at Northwestern. 

First, at Northwestern learned that our God is real. I realized that God wasn’t just an entity to believe in so that you look like a good kid to grown-ups. Previously, I had used God to set myself apart from the crowd growing up. God can use someone to stand out, but I was doing it for selfish reasons only. At Northwestern, I learned that most of the guys on the football team and students among campus were authentic and genuine in their faith. They didn’t put up the “Orange City front” to make themselves look good, but rather these people were real and wanted to talk about deep theological questions – something I had never experienced before. Sure, these people weren’t perfect, and they struggled with sin like everybody else, but they didn’t hide it like I was used to. Instead, they were open about it and asked for forgiveness. This was the first lesson that Northwestern taught me about God. 

Second, at Northwestern I learned that our God loves indiscriminately. It doesn’t matter to God what we look like or how we have sinned in the past. All that matters to God is who we are trying to be in the present. God cares that we are striving to be more like Jesus. Inevitably, we aren’t going to look like Jesus all the time. That’s called sin. There aren’t enough numbers in the world to account for the times I have sinned. No matter where you go to college, there are going to be temptations. I’ve been tempted with laziness, lust, alcohol, and I’ve even been tempted to skip chapel a couple times. However, at the end of the day, my Northwestern experience has taught me that God still loves through the thickest of sins. God loved me in my past darkness and I can take comfort in that God will love me in my future darkness.  God even loves me enough to call me out of my darkness and into his light.  God’s unending, unconditional, and limitless love was the second thing that Northwestern taught me about God. 

Overall, my experience here at Northwestern is priceless and something that I will always cherish. From 5:30am morning football workouts to late night NBS and Catan in Coly, the memories and life lessons that I have gained from this place will be taken with me wherever I go. I can’t begin to describe the impact Northwestern has had on my life and am eternally grateful for it. God is doing some amazing things on campus and I am excited to see what the Northwestern community becomes in the future. 

I love all you Raiders, 

Raiders Roll, 

Jacob Jenness 

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