(And yes, that title ends with a preposition.)
There are many things for which I was extremely grateful when I came to Faith Bible Seminary in fall of 2010. I was thankful for a church that would give so sacrificially as to make it possible for me to go to seminary for free. I was thankful for faithful men of God who would commit years of their life to training young men like me. I was thankful that God was with me as I came to a brand new world in Lafayette, Indiana.
I’m still very thankful for all of those things. But there are several new things that I’m thankful for now because of my seminary experience.
1. I’m thankful for disorientation.
When I first arrived in Lafayette, “disoriented” would be a good way to describe the way I felt. Faith was worlds apart from anything I had been accustomed to. At the time, the disorientation was unpleasant, but now I realize that it was part of growing. Though none of us remembers it, we all entered the world in a state of total disorientation. But disorientation precedes big stretches of growth. Algae on a stagnant pond is rarely disoriented, but that’s not what any of us would want to be.
2. I’m thankful for upset stomachs.
I had never cleaned up so much product of upset stomachs until I came here. Working in children’s ministries and at the Community Center has provided ample opportunities for practice. I’m thankful for it, first of all, because apparently my (now) wife Courtney saw me cleaning it up one Wednesday night and decided that I was a servant, and she might like to marry me. But I’m also thankful for all the sorts of things about my seminary internship that vomit represents—the menial jobs, like cleaning toilets at the Community Center, shoveling the church out from under three feet of snow. I personally needed to wash a lot of proverbial feet, and I thank God for some of the not-so-fun moments of seminary.
3. I’m more thankful for the people of God.
I was thankful for Christ’s church before I came to seminary. But I and my family have been so blessed to be a part of a body of people who set aside petty squabbles to work together in the kingdom of God. The love and prayers that the people at Faith Church have showered on us has been incredible!
4. I’m more thankful for the word of God.
Some seminaries produce men whose faith in God is dead by the time they graduate, giving rise to the joke that “seminaries” are actually “cemeteries.” But FAITH BIBLE Seminary’s name fits it well. I appreciate God’s word more now than I ever did, having seen its power to change lives.
As you look back over the last few years of your life, what has God taught you? What are you thankful for that maybe you weren’t at the time?