Dr. Roy Andrews, Academic Dean of MU's seminary, shares how being taken off guard broke him out of a relational rut with His Creator.
God is at His best when He surprises me! As I write those words, I realize how odd they sound. In fact, some could see them as offensive. God is always at His best, after all – not just when He's surprising me. Yet, this phrase has been rattling around in my head over the past week just the same. Perhaps you’ll bear with me as I give a little context.
I was asked to write this blog during the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was told it would be posted sometime after the New Year. Thus, I find myself writing this smack dab (that’s an old Hoosier phrase for “in the middle of” – after all, you can take the boy out of Indiana, but not the Indiana out of the boy – ha!) during the best time of the year.
I like to refer to this time as the "holydays." I usually get comments about my spelling when I write, "Happy holydays!" Sometimes I emphasize my intent by writing it "HOLYdays," which helps. I realize that I could be misunderstood – for every day is holy because God is holy, and He makes the days. I can hear the protests. Yep, I agree!
So, here we have the meeting of what I know in my heart and mind with what I have experienced recently. My heart and mind tell me that God is always at His best and every day is holy. Why do my heart and mind know this? Because the Bible says it and I believe it! I can't think of a single verse that could capture such an all-encompassing truth. Instead, the whole counsel of Scripture proclaims it!
My experience tells me that as I get older I am less and less able to be surprised. God’s best and holiness are unchanging, but I have changed. There is very little that I haven’t seen or heard. There are few sermons I hear preached these days that I haven’t heard before. I have read the Bible through several times in my five decades of life. These are not egotistical statements. It's a simple fact that as we age we become more difficult to impress. I know God is good (holy) and great (at His best), but most of the time I get in a rut and don’t recognize these facts. And then He surprises me!
A few months ago, I was chosen to serve as the Academic Dean at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Surprise! Sure, I had been an undergraduate faculty member at Multnomah for the past six years, so I knew where the Seminary Academic Dean’s office was on campus. But I had never actually been there – oh no! Sure, I knew all the seminary faculty and staff as acquaintances, but to now be their leader – oh my! Sure, God had gifted me administratively, but to be appointed to such an important post – oh boy! Sure, I had been a pastor for fourteen years before becoming a professor at Multnomah, but to be given the task of training pastors – oh wow!
So, you see God surprised me. These past few months have been amazing! I’m settling into that seminary dean’s office quite nicely. Those seminary acquaintances have become colleagues and friends. With the help of a great team, we are making leadership progress daily. Getting to know today’s students who will be tomorrow’s pastors has been a real joy. In short, God’s surprise has been just like Him – wonderful! He has turned the "oh no," "oh my," "oh boy," and "oh wow" into OKAY!
As you grow closer to the Lord in 2014, may He continually surprise you with His holiness and His best! Perhaps like me, you’ll be surprised!
If you're interested in learning more, check out out Multnomah Biblical Seminary page.