Today in 2014, Tracy and I got on the plane to London. It was the last time we would head for the UK for teaching and lectures. I cannot remember having more mixed emotions than today. There was the exhilaration of getting to see new students who are eager to learn accompanied by a passion for God. Knowing that they were the last group of theological students I would teach pulled at my heart. The past seven years have been some of the most enriching of my life and afforded me some of the greatest opportunities to meet, commune with and grow from others of like faith from other parts of the world.
God has instilled, reinforced and caused me to reflect deeply on the diversity of His Family during this time. I have met brothers and sisters that I would have never chosen as “friends” but they have taught me so very much about loving God and others from their unique paradigm. Crispin Fletcher-Lewis revolutionized my perspective on the concept of being made in God’s image. Peter Fitch deepened my understanding of many Biblical mindsets based on culture, geography and deep understanding of background dynamics. Bob Ekblad amazed me with his practical application of putting God’s power into action with students. Joe Pestel and Catherine Delve were tireless in their effort to ensure all things were done and done well. Alex Collishaw, Melody Ball and Carl Palmer were quiet unsung heroes. I became richer because of them and the experience of the past 7 years.
However, moving on, when you don’t want to, is something that we all have to do from time to time. It’s even painful at times, yet you know God has something more for you in the days ahead than the times behind. I think about the Jews who were scattered after Christ died, yet it was for the ultimate cause of the Kingdom that they left all things familiar to carry the message to other places. And, the remarkable thing is that the message is the same no matter where I go. It just has varying cultural twists that open up new insight into a God of love and compassion to a flawed race of peoples who are trying to get it right.
Moving on with our lives, living with change we may not want, or dealing with adversity is just another effective tool He uses to make us better. To me it is much like making a dumb mistake that everyone around you observes. “Boy was that embarrassing and I really made a fool of myself” is all you can think about because of our innate ego and pride. However, from a spiritual paradigm, you have learned not to make that same mistake and the Spirit of God is saying: “You are one step closer to completion” or “You’re getting better because you made a mistake.” Thank goodness we are renewed every morning and cleansed to begin again.
Changing seasons of life, like making mistakes can be painful. But both are reshaping our lives and deepening the sanctification process whether we like it or not! The times that make us think most deeply and profoundly are the times that shape and mold our formation, development and improvement. We cannot look back with regret – we must look forward with the knowledge of being prepared for the next season by the previous one. Most of all be grateful for the time and people who blessed and enriched our lives. Thank you for them Father and bless them on their journey.