February 25th, 2017. I’m sitting on a flight from Lviv to Munich, Germany. Ben is seated one row ahead of me. The kids are still in Lviv, staying for 11 days with Grammy, while we are headed to Pasadena, California for our first on-campus intensive at the very start of a new stage of life as candidates of the doctorate of ministry (DMin) program in the area of Youth, Family and Culture. http://fuller.edu/dmin/
In the plane I am reading the Fuller Theological Seminary Quarterly magazine. It’s an article about pop culture with 10 short blurbs of different Fuller scholars writing about the content of their Ph.D. dissertations, the books they have published, the studies they’ve led, the research findings they have discovered.
I’m overcome by a strong wave of emotion. One tear drips on the magazine. Then two. Suddenly I can’t read anymore.
My mind automatically rewinds to April 2015. I was on an airplane then, too, with Ben, and without kids, who were safe in Lviv with Grammy. I was flying home from 12 days in Israel with Global Youth Initiative specialists from around 90 countries. I, then, was also crying on the plane. I was overcome by emotion then, too, because I had just spent 12 days touring with some of my modern-day heroes of the faith – Dann Spader and Steve Hudson from GYI/Sonlife training, Benjamin Francis from Biglife (out of India), Dave Patty, founder of Josiah Venture, and other key JV leaders who are doing amazing things in Central and Eastern Europe by obeying God’s call to make disciples of Jesus.
In that sea of GYI participants, I was very, very small. In the sea of Fuller post-graduate students, I will certainly feel the same. I am overwhelmed, humbled, and eternally grateful to God to stand among these spiritual giants.
Now, I know that in the Bible and in history, Jesus is the only hero. But at the same time, as we look up to human spiritual influences on our lives, we can see in them a God who is so, so big.
As I enter into ten days of study, my expectation is that I will leave twelve days at Fuller, just like I left 12 days in Israel, with a much greater understanding of the greatness of our God and the mission He has called me to.