Elizabeth's call of God to follow family footsteps
Following in her grandparents' footsteps, Elizabeth Elkins left Norwich this week for the London School of Theology. Here she explains how she responded to God's call on her life.
My grandparents (John and Doreen Betts) went to the London School of Theology when it was known as London Bible College, but I wanted to go to a proper university such as Cambridge or Kings College London. London School of Theology seemed like the easy way out that led to only one road - working in Christian ministry.
Having been part of a church my whole life, and both my grandparents and parents leaders in Christian ministry, I wanted something different. I’d been trying to find a career path for years and I kept being drawn back to teaching. That too felt like a default job as everyone I knew was training to be teachers and I didn't want to be the same as everybody else.
During the summer of 2014 my AS grades came through after the first year of sixth form and I had done well. Like really well. My teachers encouraged me to apply to the top universities in the country to study Theology (which despite all desperate searches for a different subject proved to be the only one that truly piqued my interest).
I began to write personal statements, visit colleges in Cambridge so as to know which was the one for me and read up on theological books which would give me an edge. However, just before the applications opened, my mentor sat me down and told me that, I honestly couldn’t make the cut for the Oxbridge university. I was devastated; this had been my dream since I was 11. The teachers themselves had offered their support and encouragement, and then turned around and said that I didn’t have what it took.
My parents, grandparents and I did the only thing we could and spent a day of prayer and fasting, asking God what His plans where for me at this time. The scripture I was given was Psalm 37 verses 4 and 5; “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and it shall come to pass.”
At this time I felt that God had clearly spoken - my desire was to go to Cambridge and so that’s what would happen, as long as I kept in His word. My Cambridge application was renewed with full force. However, throughout this time LST had been nagging in the back of my mind as a potential fourth university to apply to, but after praying and fasting about my Cambridge application, I pushed it aside. It wasn't necessary, God had told me I was going to Cambridge - I was convinced!
A month of silence ensued. I heard nothing from Cambridge. Other people were being offered interviews, whilst nothing came through for me. I wasn’t worried, I believed that I had a promise from God and that He would prevail.
And then one Wednesday the letter came; “… we regret to inform you that after a large number of applications for your chosen subject we will not be offering you an interview.”
What? God had said he would give me the desires of my heart, and then the one thing I thought I had wanted above everything else had proved a dead end! I didn’t understand what He was doing in my life at this point, but I was surprised to find that the pain, anger and frustration I was expecting to flood me at this time never came.
In fact it was a huge relief not to have to push myself to achieve the A*AA grades that Cambridge would have demanded. However I did receive offers from other Universities during this time but nothing seemed right.
Once again, London School of Theology was playing on my mind, and since I was revising my university plans, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to apply and see what happened. I was immediately invited to an interview which built up my hopes more than when offers had come through from other universities. Just driving to Northwood where the university is situated filled me with anticipation that I couldn’t explain.
The university itself is not what I had dreamed of - there were no beautiful old buildings, extensive history and college systems of other universities. Nevertheless, as soon as I stepped out of the car and looked and the college, I knew this was where I wanted to be. Despite the dated looking building, small site and comments from the interviewer that they “don’t take people straight out of sixth form for the Theology degree,” it was clear to me that God had fulfilled His promise given to me in Psalm 37.
He hadn’t given me the desires of MY heart, but HE had GIVEN me the desires of my heart. HE had changed my desires so that He could bring me to the place He had in store for me. I am now looking forward to the next three years studying at London School of Theology, starting next Monday, September 28.
Article reproduced with permission from New Hope Christian Centre