Feeling Thankful

Posted more than a year ago.

With just over six months left in Thrive, we’re down to the home stretch (some “OC is Home” pun intended) and I’m feeling thankful.

You might think, “Thankful for what? To be almost done?”

Yes, that. But when I pause to reflect over my plate of turkey this week (and begin to regret my dining decisions for the next month), one blessing I’m profoundly thankful for is God’s hand in Thrive. And I’m thankful for you.

Even a transparent campaign like ours is a bit of a mess to unpack. From the website alone, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s happened over the last thirty months. Even for me, in the thick of it, it’s difficult to step back enough to take in the full breadth of God’s moves here. But, if you’ll indulge me, let me overwhelm you with a few stats that might paint a better picture for us both:

  • 7,917 different people and organizations have invested in Thrive (so far). That’s four people, who aren’t their parents or their teachers, holding up every one of our undergraduates.
  • 3,560 of these wonderful people had never given to OC before Thrive. That’s about four people every single day—weekends and holidays included—saying, “wow, never done this before, but this Thrive thing’s pretty cool.”
  • You’ve given $27,175,107. If you picture one of those life-changingly packed briefcases of cash you see in the movies, this is at least twenty of those bad boys. It also happens to be more than $10M beyond what our team, on paper, should be able to raise in this amount of time.
  • You’ve helped us complete fourteen named Thrive projects. From Cail Auditorium in DAH, to Das Millicanhaus in Vienna, to our state-of-the-art gaming labs, to our deliciously tempting Chick-Fil-A, our students are living and working in vibrant new spaces that would simply not be without Thrive.
  • Beyond the menu, you’ve also invested in over 250 other campus efforts. Two. Hundred. And. Fifty. Your fingerprints are on nearly every Kingdom-building work we do here, and we couldn’t do any of it without you.

I’m much fonder of words than I am of numbers, but I think these numbers speak. I’ve been urged not to use the term ‘miraculous’ too loosely, but let me say this: if God wasn’t working through you, if He wasn’t in this with us, these stats would make no sense. They are just that big.

Does that mean we’re swimming in rolling dunes of money, Scrooge-McDuck-style? No. (And that sounds a bit uncomfortable, anyway.) Our University and our students needed uncommonly big things to happen during Thrive. We pushed for the miraculous (there, I said it) to keep our mission firing and our momentum up--to keep OC on the cutting edge of faith-fueled academics. And God’s provision, as always, has been more than enough to meet our needs.

A close friend reminded me this morning that Thanksgiving is built on the idea of being grateful, not for abundance but for provision even in the midst of scarcity. Staring down the barrel of Thrive almost three years ago, we knew everyone's resources (ours, our donors', our community's) were under pressure. But, as He is known to do, God moved. And you moved. And we couldn’t be more thankful. 

Here’s to six more faith-building months and to a blessed holiday season for you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving.