This past summer, my wife Dawn and I climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine with our daughter Caitlin. It was a challenging climb for the three of us who were all dealing with various injuries. The trail was steep, long, and hard to navigate in places. We followed the white blazes and took great encouragement and direction from the cairns along the way. The path was difficult, but the views and the gratification of finishing the ascent, and the sometimes more challenging decent, were worth every step.
During our twelve hour jaunt to the top of the state and back, we learned something about ourselves, worshipped the God of all creation in that wild and beautiful place, and talked about the metaphors and analogies for life, work, and faith. These kinds of experiences always serve to drive my belief in the uniqueness of Cairn University even deeper. They always remind me that the only things really worth doing in life are the hard ones.
When I think of the thousands of alumni all over the world, the hundreds of students studying here now, and the men and women who have served and serve here now as faculty, staff, administration, and trustees, I cannot help but think of the way an education centered on Christ and Scripture compels people to go to hard places and do hard things. From academic settings to remote parts of the world, from the marketplace to family homes where parents strive to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord in a world that sees little value in it, we find our people serving Christ and carrying out His mission.
The path is sometimes steep, sometimes long, and hard to navigate in the world in which we live. But we walk it still—because it is the right thing to do and because it is worth doing.
When I think of the many individuals who give generously to the work here, as well as the leaders of churches, ministries, agencies, schools, and businesses who invest in our students through mentorships, internships, placements, and practicums, I am acutely aware that we educate our students on and off campus and with the help of our friends and donors. In every aspect, from the financial to the spiritual, from professional to social, we see students in every program being challenged, encouraged, and changed. It is not always easy—not for anyone in the groups involved, or in any of the settings, or in any of the areas where we see learning and growth. But it is always worth it.
At Homecoming this year, these ideas hit me again as I visited with old friends and former students. I was struck anew by what God does with the experiences here as He leads people beyond the confines of the campus. We were moved to think about the work here in new ways as we listened to alumni panels discuss urban ministry and issues of diversity, heard from faculty emeriti as they discussed their service at Cairn, and watched athletes fight hard on the fields and courts despite injuries. Young families and golden grads came together, testifying to one another of God’s grace and mercy in their lives as they serve Christ in the church, society, and the world.
You do not have to look hard to see that our University community is committed to walking a different path. It is sometimes steep, sometimes long and hard to navigate in the world in which we live. But we walk it still—because it is the right thing to do and because it is worth doing. And while we walk different paths in different settings, we all share in common the reality that we walk wherever God leads and do what God requires of us in the places where He calls us to go.
I trust that this issue of the magazine will give you a fresh glimpse of the blessing it is to be part of a university committed to doing hard things that have eternal value in the hard places. I hope you will be encouraged by reading about the things being done here now, and that you will find yourself agreeing with me that these are the things worth doing.
Dr. Todd J. Williams has been the President of Cairn University since January 2008. He served as faculty and an administrator from 1996 to 2001, and then returned as Provost in 2005. He can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.