Words of Hope: Dramatic Transformation

My father-in-law was on a generational pattern of self-sabotage. He came from no education, alcoholism, wasted living, and deeply troubled relationships. He was throwing his life away until someone intervened and encouraged him to play basketball and get a degree. He went on to earn a master’s degree. He is the only person in his generational line to have an educational degree.

His life was dramatically transformed because of education. Because of this high importance placed on the value of education, Shann grew up with an expectation of doing well scholastically. Early on, Shann never seemed to love school. He rarely read. However, his father did militarily instill the discipline required to be a great student. Now Shann has five degrees and teaches in the doctoral program at Gonzaga, as well as poetry at Stanford and at Princeton Theological seminary. He reads constantly. I wonder how Shann transformed from a jock basketball player, barely literate, to an erudite top-level scholar.

Shann and I often marvel at how important certain life decisions become. The choice for learning, the decision to dedicate oneself to scholarship. However, as grand as the educational transformation in Shann’s home was, it pales in comparison to the spiritual transformation of his life.  

For Shann, the revolutionary encounter with God as beloved, as ultimate love, forgiveness, and mystery transformed him more fully than any possible degree.

My Dad brilliantly understood this. He understood that faith in Christ could transform the most desperate aspects of life. Education can alter a person’s trajectory for a lifetime. Faith can alter a person’s trajectory for eternity.

 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11