“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to give you peace and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13
Fellowship of Christian Athletes UCI Campus Director Ali Malaekeh visited Newport Harbor and Conora del Mar huddles to share his powerful testimony of God’s pursuit and provision. Ali shared his experience of growing up without any true relationship with God and seeking worldly affirmation to establish his sense of value and worth. He described life coaching soccer as a functioning alcoholic whose drive to win dominated his identity.
When his carefully crafted world started crumbling around him, a friend suggested Ali read Jeremiah 29:11-13. As he dug deeper into the Bible, Ali was astounded by the gift of unconditional love and grace offered by Jesus. All his life he had found his value in works and achievements; and yet, in Jesus he discovered a worth rooted in his identity as a child of the King.
Ali’s message is one that resonates widely in our culture of striving and achievement. He encouraged the students to set aside their pursuit of earthly affirmation and instead, fix their eyes on Jesus, pursuing relationship with Him and trusting His provision and purpose for their lives.