“Love wins. I really believe that. I have seen it happen, not once, not twice, but multiple times. In the end, love will always win." -Dr. Steve Pettit, BJU President
A statement this optimistic almost takes us by surprise. As Christians, we sometimes feel as though we’re constantly on the defensive, reacting by default to a world that, as Christ predicted, is inundated with “wars and rumors of wars” and “famines and earthquakes” (Matt. 24:6-7). But we tend to forget that Christ doesn’t stop there. Before the end comes, He assures us that “the Good News will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations.” For Dr. Steve Pettit, this is the conclusion that has driven his thirty years of ministry with overwhelming certainty: love will win out in the end. And it is this knowledge that impassions him in his new role as president of BJU.
Pettit’s confidence stems from a firm conviction in the power of God’s Word to change people. That doesn’t mean change will always happen the way we expect or want. “Some things take time to change because you just have to go through processes,” Pettit said.
Pettit and his family have firsthand experience of the sometimes painful, often mysterious processes of God. For the past six years, Pettit’s wife, Terry Pettit, has been battling cancer. Yet even in this dark circumstance, the Pettits have found comfort in God’s sovereignty.
“I’m absolutely confident of God’s control”
He and his wife don’t feel bitter toward God but rather consider this trial a calling. “We all suffer, and it’s a part of His plan because it’s how we mature.” God has used this trial in the Pettit family to strengthen their dependence on God and their commitment to one another.
In many ways, the Pettit family’s close relationship prepared them for the major transition Pettit made from traveling evangelist to BJU’s fifth president. When Pettit received a phone call in late March from the Board of Trustees, asking him to send in an application for the BJU presidency, he knew it would profoundly affect the entire family. Pettit’s children grew up traveling. “Their whole world of reality was our family and our ministry and what we did,” Pettit said.
But his family was supportive, deciding that if God opened doors, they would take the step.
“Coming here has thrown our family into a whole different world,” Pettit said. “Suddenly, my identity is becoming more here.”
“People say how are you living? I really live in one hour segments,” Pettit said. “God has helped me to live one day at a time, content in His will, happy with where we are. I don’t have to know everything about tomorrow.”