When I came to seminary, I assumed the most difficult aspects would be leading a balanced life, memorizing Greek and Hebrew vocabulary, or reading a large quantity of material well. But tonight I experienced what I’ve consistently found to be one of the most challenging aspects of seminary: relationships. It’s not difficult to find people to have a relationship with. In fact, it’s just the opposite, and that is the challenging part. There is an overwhelming amount of opportunities for good relationships with people who love Jesus.
It seems like every month I meet someone new or meet someone that has lived in our neighborhood for a while, and we instantly connect. I experienced this again tonight in talking to brother who lives just a few houses down. As our kids played on the playground, we talked about how God called us to seminary, how we love the beauty of God’s Word in its original languages, and how we hope to serve the Lord after we graduate. Yet I know it is unlikely that we will grow deeper in friendship due to life’s obligations and time constraints. I experience this at least a few times a semester!
Another difficult aspect of seminary relationships is the unpredictability and transience of the life stage we are all in. One of my closest friends who I take regular walks with to discuss theology, biblical interpretation, and cultural issues is moving in October- after just a year of really getting to know one another. My wife and I recently had a married couple that we loved move to a different state after just being here for one year. We still miss them dearly.
I think the difficulty lies in being in such close proximity with several families who love God and are giving their lives to the cause of Christ. These are my sisters and brothers, my family in Christ, and I wish I could spend unhindered time with each one hearing how God has worked in their life. The realization that I can’t is often difficult for me. But I praise God for this feeling. Because even though I can’t spend endless hours with other believers reveling in the beauty of the gospel, the wonder of the incarnation, or the incredible gift of God’s Word in this life, I will be able to in the life to come! But until that day, each conversation like the one I had tonight makes me long for heaven, where we will have years and years on end to spend time with each member of Christ’s bridge from every tribe, tongue, and nation, where we will all worship Him and share stories of His faithfulness and goodness for all eternity!