I had a discouraging morning. Without boring you with the details, let’s just say I made some discoveries during a graduate school event that have reminded me of exactly HOW slim the chances of employment are for someone with a PhD in theatre. It’s actually really, really frightening. I’ve spent the last couple of hours mourning. Mourning my decision years and years ago to major in theatre and not something else, to pursue not one but THREE degrees in this field, to move across the country away from my family and friends and put myself through academic hell for this seemingly useless piece of paper. It’s a dark place, you guys.
I’ve always said that every time I’ve asked for a clear sign, God has opened the door, led me farther down this path. I said, “God, if I’m supposed to go to graduate school, please let me be accepted to the one school I really want to attend.” And then I was accepted. I said, “God, if I’m supposed to go to graduate school, please let me have funding.” And I got funding. I said, “God, if I’m supposed to get my PhD, please let me get accepted into the ONE program I applied for.” I got in. Every step, every time.
And this morning, I had a moment of anger and bewilderment. I found myself crying out to God, “Why did you bring me here to Columbus to this program? Why did you get me halfway to my doctorate only to let me discover it’s almost POINTLESS to keep going? Why didn’t you just let me major in nursing??”
And then I was struck, full-force, by a passage in the book of Exodus in the Bible. God has led Moses and the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt (uh, let’s be clear that I am in no way comparing my academic career to actual human slavery). He’s taking them to the Promised Land. God has delivered them from their captors, from their suffering. He has sent plague after plague upon their oppressors. He has delivered them at every. turn. He is actively working to fulfill their dream of freedom and hope and a new life. And then…the Pharaoh of Egypt sends his army after them, to chase them down where they are trapped against the shore of the Red Sea. And so naturally…
"The people began to panic, and they cried out to the Lord for help. […] ‘Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? Why did you make us leave?’” (Exodus 14:10b-11, NLV).
And then…God parts. the. sea. WOW.
It’s like He says to us, “No way forward, huh? I’ll make one. If you would just trust me, Israelites. If you would just trust me, Elizabeth…Trust me and I will part the sea for you.”
This morning I am so humbled by this. I have absolutely ZERO idea what the future holds. Will I finish my PhD? Will I get a tenure-track faculty position at a well-respected university? Will I do something else entirely? I don’t know.
But today, I am asking God to part the sea for me, not so that I can have the most lucrative or high-paying or well-respected job or even so that I can have a steady, stable income and career. Not even that. I am asking God to part the sea and lead me down the path to His dream for me. God, you don’t have to fulfill my dreams. But please, God, fulfill yours through me. Part the sea. And I will cross it.
What about you? What sea are you hoping to cross in your life? I hope today you are ENCOURAGED by the knowledge that God has dreams for you.
PS: Stay tuned…a Valentine’s Day giveaway is on the horizon…