Go East, Young Woman!

That’s right, people: in about a month and half I’m moving to the Boston area to attend seminary!  In case you’d like a little more information on how I arrived at this decision, here’s a (relatively) concise version of events.

I have never been satisfied with my depth of knowledge of God, and the more I read the Bible the more I am frustrated with my limited understanding.  Over and over people have told me that there is so much about God that I will never understand, and I just need to be content with daily devotions and prayer.  I get where these people are coming from; an infinite God is certainly beyond my complete comprehension.  But at the same time, God himself has gifted me with a curious and contemplative mind, and it would not honor him to simply plod through the Bible, silencing my myriad of questions about why the authors included some seemingly meaningless details but excluded others, how someone in ancient Israel would have understood certain commandments, the symbolism of special sacrifices, the full meanings of Hebrew words, and so on.  These things are are not part of God’s mysterious, infinite character; they are historical realities that can be studied and understood.

Despite all these frustrations, I had never considered seminary before this summer.  My plan was to apply for internships with non-profits that advocate for human rights like the International Justice Mission or the A21 Campaign, and through that experience get my foot in the door for an actual job with one of those organizations.  But every time I would apply, I felt a check in my spirit, like God was saying ‘Not yet.’

So I waited and waited, twiddling my thumbs at a job that barely paid the bills gave me a mild case of carpel-tunnel.  As I waited, my frustrations with my ignorance intensified, particularly in regards to the relationship between God’s sovereignty, his love, and suffering.  The Bible doesn’t seem to give a consistent description of this relationship, and I can’t help but think that quite a lot is lost in translation, or missed because we don’t understand cultural contexts of the scenarios some Arminians and Cavlinists love to use and abuse as proof texts.

All of this struggling and frustration led me to two conclusions: first, C.S. Lewis’ brilliantly simple logic is not only outside the proverbial box, but defies the existence of the box itself (read The Problem of Pain); second, I cannot spend my life serving people who have suffered more profoundly than anyone I’ve ever known if I cannot honestly believe that God hates the evil done against them and is actively working to end it.

Within a week of coming to this realization, three people suggested I consider applying for seminary completely out of the blue.  At first, I brushed them off; seminary wouldn’t get me any closer to achieving my goals.  Law school was what I really ought to be considering.

But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense on a logical and emotional level.  I applied to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and waited for weeks, certain I was going to be rejected and resigning myself to spending another year in Antarti–I mean, Montana.  And then I got the phone call, and all I could do was stammer excitedly to the admissions rep that I would email him with my questions when I could think coherently.

I am convinced that God is leading me into this, and I’m so grateful that despite all my doubting he has never left me hanging.  He knows what I need long before I do, and I am thrilled beyond words to devote the next two and a half years, full-time, to knowing him.

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