My mind feels drained and yet overflowing. It feels fatigued and yet energized. I feel like I need a cup of coffee yet already buzzing with caffeine.
I feel like this whole seminary journey has been contradiction at every turn. I’ve never felt so bipolar in my life. It doesn’t make sense, while it makes perfect sense. How can two opposites be true at the same time? I don’t know, but I feel it. I feel it nearly every minute. And it’s annoying and yet satisfying.
In our airbnb there is a little plaque with curly letters and playful swirls that say, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”
Not only did I need that quote plastered all over my 4th grade classroom 4 years ago, but somehow that statement I needed today. I feel like I can try to explain seminary to you– to anyone –but understanding it for you, is quite entirely another feat.
Bobby just dropped Lois and I off at our sleeping quarters (aka the Bobbin’ house), because Lois couldn’t handle being shushed for a single minute more, and I couldn’t handle doing the shushing. She needed a nap. And I needed some quiet. And some natural light (the fluorescent lights of the classrooms were making me feel queasy).
It might seem like I disenjoyed our visit and tour at Bethlehem seminary and college. But you should already be expecting a complete contradiction, because that’s the nature of seminary vibes. I didn’t disenjoy seminary. In fact, I absolutely enjoyed myself, and I particularly enjoyed shushing my baby and cooing her while listening to invigorating theological topics and visions being discussed with 4th year, 5th year, and 1st year seminary students.
The seminary is humble. Very humble. No high-tech technology. No flashy graphics. No epic lounges or classrooms. No vaulted libraries or sophisticated resources. No lofty professor offices. No bustling crowds of studious students. No beautiful gardens or beautified grounds. No ancient relics. No lure to the eyes.
It’s just a little faded brick building with one floor of classrooms and a plain boring parking lot. That’s pretty much it. With a tiny little library, a ping pong table, some white boards, and a few stray somebodies doing something. That was the grand Bethlehem seminary tour.
Yet, the seminary is lavished. Very lavished. High-tech conversations. Flashy topics. Epic thoughts with epic answers. Vaulted arguments with sophisticated responses. Lofty professors with spectacular men. Bustling cohorts with studious minds. Beautiful growth and beautified ministry. All centered around one ancient book. And a lure to the heart.
When first arriving as a visitor in the Systematic Theology class, I was thinking, I want to go to seminary! Then about 3 hours later I realized (for obvious reasons), nope, this place is for Bobby. It has Bobby’s name written all over it. There is no way Bobby is ever going to leave. This is made for him.
All throughout the morning I kept experiencing, seeing, and marveling at the guiding hand of the Lord. I was flabbergasted yet unsurprised by God’s work. Not only did we discover the downtown campus was looking for a worship leader, we found out today that the north campus was in need of a part-time music guy as well, and a part-time youth pastor. Then the professor asked for Bobby’s resume and such and such happened basically paving the way for us.
And Bobby and I were worried about finding a job! You guys, how do things just fall in Bobby’s lap?! How?!
I’ll tell you: GOD. There is no explanation for the sequencing and piecing together of our lives except for God himself. That’s it. The explanation for our lives is nothing less than the God who we serve. The sovereignty of God explains it all.
I’m not saying Bobby will get these jobs. I’m not saying necessarily that the transition to seminary is going to be seamless nor effortless. And I’m especially not saying that Bobby is God’s favorite, or God’s special Christian apart from others. But I am saying that I am continually overwhelmed by the wide-open doors for opportunity that God has not just given us- but prepared for us!
Yesterday John Piper said, “I’ll make sure to tell [so-and-so] to put a checkmark by your name.” Then Andy Naselli declares, “Oh, you’re not going to be not accepted.”
And what have we done? We’ve just walked. God creates his workers, prepares their good works, and we get to do the walking, believing, and trusting.
Being at the seminary, seeing it, and envisioning my husband being taught, led, and grown by men seriously giddy and intensely joyous about the Bible, made it all come together. The icing on the cake. The cherry on top.
So is God preparing a place for Bobby at Bethlehem? I’d say a 100% yes! But also, a 100% “we will see.” I’m telling you people, seminary is full of contradictions, and I have a love/hate relationship with it! Being a christian is pretty awesome. We get the joy of figuring out our lives, while also finding peace in seeing and believing God will figure it out for us. Oh how good it is to be called a child of God!
So our first and final day at Bethlehem seminary ends with a start. We leave with an anticipation. We drive while looking back. We plan while we wait. We are always in an “already but not yet” status.
Maybe that’s the reason I feel queasy, and not the fluorescent lights…