Like everyone else in this increasingly self-gratification fueled culture, I want things when I want them. Mostly, I want them NOW.
I blame the internet. Instead of opening a paper map and carefully calculating a journey, all I have to do is punch in an address on my phone’s mapping app and I’m whisked away through the power of GPS.
Hear a catchy tune on the radio in your car? Use the Shazam app to tag the song and download it on iTunes as soon as you get home to listen to 24/7.
Did you miss that incredible dunk during March Madness? Within 30 minutes of the play, you can usually find it already on YouTube with a million views.
I was called to ministry when I was 17. I fully believed that God would fulfill his call and immediately send me to seminary after my undergraduate degree was completed at the University of Missouri in 2007. God didn’t do that.
Even though my own heart was changing through spiritual highs and lows in the years that followed my initial call, I was always in wonderment as to why God would call me to ministry, give me the desire to attend seminary, yet withhold the green light to pursue that education.
Years later, I understand God’s time is not my time, nor are his ways my ways.
As a 30-year-old, I’ve just completed Week 6 of my likely 4-year journey, pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary. It’s been a fantastic six weeks. And I’m so thankful to be attending NOW, in God’s perfect timing.
I can see NOW, that if I had enrolled in seminary directly out of Mizzou, I would have hated it. I would have resented the work, resented the time commitment, and likely would have resented the theological aspects that are paramount to a seminary education! My undergraduate degree in journalism was grueling to say the least, and I needed a break from formal education.
God knew that.
I also had life to live. God knew that. I had joy to experience, pain to experience, and a complete humbling of my pride to experience. God knew that.
To be honest, a year ago at this time, I had truly given up on the idea of attending a seminary anywhere. I had buried that dream, thinking God’s call might be a mistake in my life.
But God doesn’t make mistakes. God doesn’t always move when we want him to. He moves when it is the right time to do so.
So in God’s perfect and sovereign plan, I’m a baby seminarian in 2016. And loving every second of it so far. Some days I don’t know my knee from my elbow, and that’s good for me! I’m still kind of swamped in the workload of taking nine hours of graduate level classes, all the while balancing church and other work and social duties, and that’s good for me, too.
I’m just six weeks in, and my 3-hour, one-way weekly commute hasn’t completely worn on me just yet. I know I’m still in a bit of a honeymoon stage. There will undoubtedly come times where I struggle with content and scripture and my place in it all.
My prayer is that no matter the challenges that come my way, I still maintain a sense of amazement at God’s fulfillment of his divine calling on my life. One that includes text books, highlighters and plenty of theological stretching.
NOW, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a midterm exam to study for.