I know that you are disappoionted. You were not selected for the seminary of your choice. Your pastoral supervisor, your bishop, has other wise guidence for you, as well. Following his insights and instincts for your ministry will mean that as you submit to his caring counsel, however difficult, you will be removed from the place where you thought you would be. I will say this: I think this may be an important first course in following the Lord.
We read in Acts 16:6 of a remarkable re-routing of the Apostle Paul that has a primary bearing on what you are going through:
“And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:6 ESV).
Then, we read why this otherwise good ministry opportunity was not allowed:
“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:9,10).
It is often that we are “prohibited” from going to “Asia,” only to learn that there are those in “Macadeonia” who need us more. St. Paul was stopped by the Holy Spirit from going to Asia and redirected to Europe. This was in the Father’s inscrutable will for the world. It is a mystery only partly unveiled. Paul would have to live in the tension of the mystery.Yet what about Paul’s faith and life in between the inexplicable prohibition of the Holy Spirit in one case and the effective open door of the other? It must have been a hard place to be.
Be of good cheer: the Father knows your needs for preparing to shepherd His flock and He will guide you. You will know the shepherding ministry of Christ to you and then will be better prepared to shepherd others. This process itself is a sort of pre-seminary studies in which you learn to walk with God. It is not to be wantonly wasted, my dearest one, but humbly embraced as a welcoming way into the future of His will for your life. You are precious in His sight. I am thankful for you and God will lead you through this all. We are all honored by your presence and I know that God will use you powerfully in His Kingdom.
Your friend and brother,
For other letters on the ministry please consider the new publication by Christian Focus Publications:
Milton, Michael A. The Secret Life of a Pastor and Other Intimate Letters on the Ministry. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2015.
Available at fine bookstores everywhere. One digital store is Christian Books online: http://www.christianbook.com/secret-pastor-other-intimate-letters-ministry/michael-milton/9781781915967/pd/915967