Fuller Theological Seminary is famously known as a seminary that deconstructs students more than it builds them. Instead of instructing students what they should believe, the spirit of their education is intent on jostling what they believe. In some ways, this is great, as it diversifies the mental framework for students to be able to be flexible in many contexts of ministry. However, in some ways, it’s not so great, as it doesn’t take into account that the process of breaking without building is not a healthy way of training up servants in the kingdom.
I thought that I would be pretty okay going into it, seeing as how I myself wanted to be diversified and stretched, but it honestly came to a point this past week where I just became mentally exhausted and challenged beyond my limits for the first time since I’ve been here.
I just kept finding myself in the thick of theological discussions that always end with more questions than answers. There’s never a reassuring point at the end. No celebration of common truths. And it’s always done by people who, perhaps feeling an obligation for humility, will shrug their shoulders on certain topics and and say they’re still learning and say they don’t know. Everything is uncertain, and no one knows the answers to such seemingly simple questions.
And so day after day, with my paradigms constantly being shifted and challenged, my mind being jostled and put in full gears, I found myself slouching on a chair today completely perplexed at what I really believed and whether the principles that I had been standing on for so long were really steady.
For the last few days, I’ve literally been having headaches because I’ve been thinking so much. And it’s honestly been really challenging to remain joyful and at peace. For a person who prides himself in being collected and emotionally stable in the thick of difficult situations, I was at a loss what to do with the mess of myself
And so finally, the Lord in his gentleness gave me a passage in the Scriptures to read. It’s a passage that many know, but for my mental sanity, I have found peace from it unlike any other these past days:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still, Phil….
Don’t say anything, don’t ask questions, don’t learn anything, just… be quiet and behold My presence.
And so God began comforting me as He wonderfully kept telling me that though things around me that don’t normally shake in my life are now violently shaking, there’s nothing to be afraid of- He is still here with me. More than receiving answers, His presence is enough. And that more than being intellectually stable, his grace is sufficient.
And in that place, He reminded me that He is not intimidated by the theological questions that are occurring around me. He’s not threatened by them, nor is He alarmed. He is not twiddling his thumbs in heaven. He is gloriously seated and confident in who He is.
The foundation of my life is not well-crafted theological statements, it’s found in a relationship with Jesus, and He lives inside of me. Theology is not an adventure into books, it’s an adventure into knowing my best Friend.
Today is about being still.
It’s about recognizing the weakness of my frame and surrendering to the greatness of his majesty. And finally, it’s about knowing and believing what the Psalmist did: that He is God.