By Lisa Huddleston
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
I have slowly been working on what I have foolishly referred to as “my” master’s degree in Christian Studies. There have been some ups, and there have been some downs. And right now is a down. I feel as though I have landed in a puddle at the bottom of a sinkhole. I know I shouldn’t be surprised—tuition hikes have been all over the news—but I just took a look at costs for the fall semester and was shocked to find that it has jumped $15.00 per credit hour! That is $90.00 more per semester, and I’ve barely made a dent in what it will take to complete “my” degree. Now what? How much more will tuition rise before I see the completion of “my” degree? Will I even be able to finish at all?
Naturally, downs like this make me reevaluate what my effort is all about. Is it worth the cost to our family’s budget? Is it worth the amount of time I must take to study and attend classes? Is it worth the worry and stress? Those are good questions, and right now, I’m not sure of my answers. I couldn’t even satisfactorily answer my daughter the other day when she asked me what I planned to do with “my” degree. All I do know right now is this. For some reason as yet unseen by me, I have genuinely felt led to pursue these studies. When I ask why, the only response I hear is, “Get ready.” Ready for what? I have no idea. (And I even hesitate to share this much for fear that I’m getting ready for nothing at all.)
But I guess that’s what faith is about. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Nope. I can’t see why I’m putting myself or my family through this. The study time and the stress it produces are fine. I actually enjoy that part. But, Lord, why does it have to be such a strain on our budget? That’s a burden that I am loathe to ask my husband and the rest of the family to bear. And it may prove to be too costly to justify for a pursuit that is so unclear.
Yet, Noah was asked to build an ark in an age that had never seen rain. Abraham was asked to leave his home and take his family to a place he had never seen. And Sarah was asked to carry and birth a child in her old age when she had lost the vision of ever becoming a mother. That’s what faith is. Keeping your eyes on the prize when you can’t see any logical reason to keep doing the thing you’ve been led to do. (Again, I hesitate to say “called to do” because I don’t want to place my desire in the role of God. I acknowledge that I’m not certain this is what He wants me to do. But I feel it may be so.)
So here I sit. At the bottom of the sinkhole, looking up at the open sky. A little bruised. A little bloodied. But okay, God—now what? Should I build an ark? Should I give birth in my old age? What do you want from me today? Feed my sheep … Keep your eyes fixed on me, and get ready. Okay, God. One more day. I’m looking up to catch your vision and moving forward–right after I climb out of this hole.