Heading into my last semester into the Full-Time Training, I’ve been doing some considering: what exactly have I gained the past three semesters? One of my biggest fears going into the program is that I would have “wasted” two years of my life without having changed at all.
And what do I have to show thus far? In the literal sense, not too much. I won’t be graduating with a fancy degree, and my value to future employers hasn’t really increased. I’ve certainly learned more about the Bible, made a lot of new friends, and gotten to know quite intimately the wonderful city of Anaheim.
But upon reflection, above all, I’d say I’m happiest with how I’ve invested a lot into a relationship with God. Just as is true in any human relationship I’ve been in, I’ve been reminded that true and meaningful relationships require an investment of time. There’s no shortcut, and there’s no replacement for time.
Time spent in conversation, time spent in opening up to that person, time spent getting to know that the person, time spent in knowing their intentions and heart’s desire.
Sure I’ve been reading the Bible and praying more, but more so, I’ve gotten to know God as the person revealed in the Bible – that He always has a heart of love towards us (yes, even the “bad things” that happen us often times cause us to turn to Him more), that He has a heart’s desire not for us to know things about Him (i.e. know facts about Him) and do good, but rather to “know Him (as a person) and the power of His resurrection” (Phil 3:10).
I love the picture in Genesis chapter 1. The tree that caused man to fall was the tree of knowledge of good and evil – knowledge, good, and evil belong to the same tree that led to the fall. God’s unique command was for us to eat of the tree of life – allowing God to come into us and be enjoyment to us.
So ostensibly, maybe not much has changed. I will have spent two years in this program, and I will return to the workforce doing things similar to what I’ve been doing before the program, but I’ve invested in a relationship very meaningful to me that I know will pay dividends the rest of my life.
I’m reminded of the story in Matthew 2 – as the magi found the baby Jesus by Herod’s commission, the Bible says “And because [the magi] had been divinely instructed in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed by another way to their country.” Once they saw the living Christ, they couldn’t go back and take the same way, but they took instead another way. I may be going back to work, but I have no choice but live a new way.
Sharing from B. W, a fourth term trainee in the FTTA (full-time training in Anaheim), from his enjoyment and realization in his pursuit of the Lord.