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God will be with you as you GO, Akin tells students

08/19/2016

Convocation Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) President Danny Akin and faculty welcomed students to the fall 2016 semester during a convocation service on August 18.

In his message on Psalm 27, Akin told the remarkable story of Darlene Diebler Rose, a missionary to New Guinea who spent many years in Japanese prison camps during World War II. At the young age of 10, Rose made a promise to the Lord to go anywhere with Him, no matter the cost. 

“She could never have imagined what that meant—that ‘anywhere’ would cost her unbelievable suffering,” said Akin. During her time as a prisoner of war, Rose endured separation from her husband and then widowhood, near-starvation, forced labor, inhumane conditions and disease to name a few. 

In Psalm 27, Akin explained, David shows how the Lord saves and delivers (vs. 1-3), protects and lifts up (vs. 4-6), hears and guides (vs.7-12) and sustains and strengthens (vs.13-14). This psalm was a favorite of Rose’s, one that became increasingly dear to her in her more than four years of imprisonment.

“Through it all, Rose was sustained by God, who never left her nor forsook her, just as He had promised,” Akin said. “He remained her light and her salvation. In time, he would cause her adversaries to stumble and fall.” 

What makes Rose’s story, and the story of King David, encouraging is that throughout it all, the most important thing for them was to be with the Lord, to rejoice in Him in times of blessing and in times of pain. “To sacrifice, shout, sing and rejoice in the Lord is easy when everything is good. It is something else when your heart is broken and God is silent and seems distant,” Akin said.

However hard this may be, Rose did just that when she learned of her husband’s death. Akin explained that prayer, memorized scripture and songs became a “three-cord spiritual rope” that helped Rose make it through those tough times.

Akin shared a quote from Rose’s autobiography: “The Lord fed me with the Living Bread that had been stored against the day with fresh supply was cut off by the loss of my Bible. He brought daily comfort and encouragement—yes and joy—to my heart through the knowledge of the Word.”

In closing, Akin reminded students that God will always be with them, as he was for King David and for Darlene Deibler Rose. He also challenged them to be courageous to follow God wherever he may ask them to go.

“You never know what the Lord who is our light and Savior is going to do when we say, ‘Lord, I’ll go anywhere with you, no matter what it costs.’” Akin said. “He will be with you as Psalm 27 promises. Are you willing to go?” 

Following Akin’s message, students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to sing the new Southeastern hymn, “For the Cause” together for the first time. The song by Keith and Kristyn Getty is dedicated to Southeastern and President Akin.

Provost Bruce Ashford also awarded the Faculty Excellence and Teaching Award to Chip McDaniel, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew.

In addition, several professors officially signed Southeastern’s Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message, including Matthew Mullins, assistant professor of English and history of ideas and associate dean for academic advising, Benjamin Quinn, assistant professor of theology and history of ideas and associate dean of institutional effectiveness, Joshua Waggener, assistant professor of music and Christian worship, and Keith Whitfield, assistant professor of theology and vice president for academic administration.

To view photos from the convocation ceremony, click here.

To watch Akin’s message from convocation, click here


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