Through participating in a Doctor of Ministry program, I’ve become aware again of what it’s like to be a student, struggling to figure out the system that includes financial aid, tuition, due dates, etc. Because of this, I have great sympathy for the students I work with, who often come to my office distraught over some mix-up or other with the business office or some other administrative office of the university.
Throughout my frustrations with my own seminary, I’ve kept one thing in mind: It will all be worth it in the end. Not because I’ll have the “Dr.” added to my name, or because of the cool new stripes and hood that will become a part of my academic regalia, but because of all that I’ve learned along the way. Being a student again has reminded me of why I went to college and seminary in the first place–to learn more about the world and about God in order to share God’s love with others. That doesn’t mean that I couldn’t have shared God’s love with others without college, seminary, and the D.Min, but all of those academic programs have helped me do so in a way that reaches a much larger audience than I could have otherwise. Being in ministry has given me the opportunity to share God’s love with people in two different countries, in rural, suburban, and urban environments, young and old, and from all walks of life. So, is the momentary frustration that I’m going through as a student worth it? Absolutely.
All of us go through times every now and then that try our souls. Everyone experiences frustrations. Being a student and having troubles with professors and the financial aid office do not make us unique, but part of the wider human condition. But, thanks be to God, we have the promise that it will all be worth it in the end–that what we learn now will be helpful in taking us where God is calling us in the future–and that the places we go in the future will provide us with opportunities to continue to grow in our faith and perspective on the world.
So, what’s your mantra for getting through a tough time? Do you say “It’s all worth it in the end”? May God grant you the grace to get through today, and the promise of his presence with you in all your tomorrows.