Well, I cannot believe my first year of seminary is about to end. I have a final Tuesday and one on Wednesday and I will officially be finished...for four days until I begin a mini-mester course that will last for one week! I know, I am crazy!
Seminary has been amazing, and honestly, I never imagined I would enjoy it as much as I have. I have fallen in love with God's Word and I leave amazed after every class, as the Scriptures have come alive for me in a new way. I have learned that the Bible is not boring, it is not impossible to understand, but it does require dedication and thoughtful study. More importantly, the Holy Spirit's job of illuminating the Scriptures is true...it does come to light for the believer.
However, there has been a downside to seminary. I want to be sure to say that I am not complaining, but there have been some things that have been bummers this year. The first downside has been the amount of time I have had to spend away from friends and family due to studying. There have been COUNTLESS times I have had to sacrifice away from friends in order to study.
Just this weekend I missed my friend's daughter's first birthday party. I was very disappointed to miss it, but I had to study for finals. I also had another friend who sang a solo at church on Sunday. I missed it, and I wanted so badly to be there to support her. I know everyone understands, but it has been hard to say "no" to so many things.
As a result, I have realized how lonely seminary can be. I think this is because it is so demanding, and requires a lot of solemn study, that it can become lonely. I have a deeper appreciation for community, and now I understand more why the Lord desires us to be in community with fellow believers.
We were created for companionship and for fellowship.
Consider Adam in the garden before Eve was created by God. Imagine how lonely he was as he walked through the garden with the animals, noticing that there was nothing similar to him. God said, "It is not good for man to be alone," and thankfully created a companion for him.
In the midst of it all though, God has met my need and been a companion, a friend to me. I have had some sweet fellowship with the Lord in my time of solace, which has been beneficial for me.
I realize now there are downsides to all aspects of life; in all and every season. Like my friend Priscilla says to me:
"The grass is not greener on the other side, just another shade."
How true! One season is not better than the other, each brings with it its ups and downs. I know this is where the Lord has appointed me to be in this season. So, I have been trying to seek His face and hear His voice even in the silence of my study room!
I sure am glad we serve a God who is able to work all things together for good...(Rmns 8:28); taking the downside of seminary and sweetening it with His presence and companionship.