You may be preparing to begin your theology degree or you are continuing to progress as you reflect on the marvelous and manifold expressions and implications of the gospel.
I am sure that your educational journey brings with it great obstacles, both personal and professional. While you struggle with certain theological concepts like the workings of the Trinity, you may also wrangle with personal issues that relate to the workings of your own sin or the sin done against you.
The journey you are about to embark on is a fascinating, yet dangerous voyage.
The Gospel and the Ocean
The gospel has been compared to an ocean: shallow enough for a toddler to play in its wake and deep enough for an explorer to continue discovering new life. The metaphor speaks to the reality that theology always involves great joy and care.
The ocean is at once a breathtakingly beautiful and deathly dangerous place. The many dangers (sharks!) and discomforts (sand!) threaten to steal the enjoyment of a peaceful afternoon on the beach. And yet you cannot simply run, wade and swim out into the deep with no concern for personal safety. Similarly, theology demands both your heart and your mind.
The ocean metaphor extends to you as a theology student. You are among the blessed ones who will spend your education, career and life explaining the depths of the riches in the gospel. It is both exciting and dangerous.
If I may, I would like to encourage and exhort you through the ocean metaphor: beware of the undertow and remember to play.
Experience the Gospel
The gospel impacts each of us differently as students. No matter where you find yourself in the realm of theological studies, remember to play.
The gospel experience is first and foremost about your love of God. You should delight in Him as you gain a fuller picture of his grace and love. And yet, beware the undertow.
Theology requires us to wrestle with difficult issues that have brought so many before us to doubt and despair. You should take care in your studies so that it does not destroy your faith but rather grows it.
Some of you will have experience with the gospel. You grew up playing on the shores and getting your bearings in the shallow waves. Maybe you have even taken an afternoon voyage or taken up surfing. Your background helps you expect the dangers of the undertow that could pull down and swallow up less-experienced voyagers.
Beware and Remember
Some of you will take theology classes like it is your very first trip to the beach while others become more comfortable in salty waters, simply taking in a breadth of the seemingly-never-ending horizon.
Your fresh perspective can give life to those who are growing weary. Lean into fellow theology students and your professors; they are your support, the captain and crew that will take you on a guided tour. Continue your commitment to the local church; they are your lifeline, the means of keeping you afloat in dangerous waters.
And, as you venture into the ocean of the gospel, beware the undertow, but remember to play.
Grand Canyon University offers theology degrees for faithful ministry alongside a rich campus life or supportive online community to help you balance your studies. To learn more about GCU’s Christian identity and heritage, visit our website or contact us today.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.