“Everything Was Worth It”

April 25, 2024

“Jesus means so much more when you understand what He fulfilled in the Old Testament.” 

In January 2023, Lindsey Semrau stepped onto a plane bound for Israel, an NCU Alumni Bible trip that would change her life. Long before boarding the plane, Lindsey’s journey started at the front doors of Miller Hall on a Super Saturday in August of 2017. Filled with anticipation, she spent her undergrad pursuing a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Church Leadership. Soon, Lindsey began discovering her passion at North Central: Bible classes. She said, “​​As I reflected on my time at NCU, I realized that because I took so many Global Studies and Worship Leading classes during my undergrad, I didn’t have the opportunity to take many Bible classes. This realization gave me the desire to pursue a Master’s degree in Biblical Theology to be more biblically literate.”

God’s Character Throughout Scripture

After graduating with her undergrad, Lindsey started the MABT (Masters of Arts in Biblical Theology program) in the fall of 2021. In an interview with Lindsey, she shared how her Biblical Theology Master’s program with an emphasis on the Old Testament had impacted her over the last several years. She said, “My view of God expanded and I learned more about His character and who He is. Really, that is the whole point of studying theology. Understanding who He is and what He’s done for us, and how to apply that to our lives.” As we talked more, Lindsey explained that often the Church focuses on the New Testament, and forgets to dive into God’s character in the Old Testament. “I feel like I have this new love for the Old Testament that I didn’t before–and honestly that was all because of this program,” Lindsey said. She continued, “I went into the program with a certain thing in mind like ‘I want to understand the Bible, I want to understand it in its original context.’ I feel like I left having learned, yes, about all of that–but also I learned so much about God!” For Lindsey, the Biblical Theology Master’s program was both an educational and spiritual experience. Through reading, writing, and reflection, she experienced a deeper understanding of God’s character and love. 

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth 

Amid starting her Master’s program, Lindsey had the opportunity to visit Israel on an NCU Alumni Bible Lands Trip. She said, “In a way, it was like studying abroad because I was immersed in all these classes, and then I got to see the places I had been studying. Basically, the Bible became alive. It wouldn’t have been as cool if I hadn’t been taking those classes.” When I asked about Lindsey’s favorite memory from the trip, she replied with a joyful laugh, “There’s so many!” She began to explain her surreal experience walking in the desert where the Israelites wandered. The mountainous terrain was dry, desolate, and nearly empty. As the group talked about Moses and the complaining Israelites, Lindsey said, “Oh, I get it now! I understand why they were complaining. I understand why it was so hard. I understand why they wanted to give up. When you go there and you start to walk on the land, it just totally changes your perspective of the Bible.” 

Another impactful moment from the trip was when Lindsey’s group learned more about Psalm 23. “As we were driving to the Dead Sea, which is the lowest place on earth, we gradually descended into a valley. We made a stop at En Gedi, which was located near the caves where they believe David hid from Saul when he was running for his life. While we were there, they read my favorite Psalm – Psalm 23. The words, ‘even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ took on an entirely new meaning once I understood the context. David was in a literal, not figurative, valley as he wrote this and these words came from a place of utmost despair because Saul was trying to kill him!” Lindsey also got to experience the Sea of Galilee, which she described as “the most beautiful place on earth.” Lindsey hopes to return to Israel in the future and experience the Bible in such a tangible way again. 

God Himself Came Down From Heaven

“I feel like this program has been very formative for me in a lot of different ways,” Lindsey said, reflecting on her Master’s degree. For Lindsey, her graduate degree went beyond reading books and writing papers. Her experience with NCU’s Biblical Theology program left a deep impact on her heart, and her walk with the Lord. “Sometimes we try to separate things. We go to church and we study, and we do this and that, but I saw it all come together. I would be reading my books and start crying or I’d read through a paper I’d just written and find myself in tears. I learned God doesn’t separate life into neat and tidy spaces like we try to do. Instead, he comes in and breaks down all our boxes, forcing us to let him into every aspect of our lives, said Lindsey. She also spoke about how her perspective on God and the Bible shifted the more she studied scripture. Lindsey said, “My view of God was corrected in lots of ways. Sometimes we think of God one way based on how we grew up, our family situation, or our circumstances. He showed me how sovereign He is, and how nothing can thwart His plans and His will. No matter what the Israelites went through, no matter what decisions were made—it didn’t matter that they ended up as captives in Babylon. God still sent His son, fulfilling his promise that is echoed throughout the whole Old Testament..” 

Completing Grad School 

In May of 2024, Lindsey will cross the stage again to graduate–but this time, she’ll receive her Master’s in Biblical Theology with an emphasis in Old Testament. With rising anticipation nearing, Lindsey has begun celebrating this accomplishment. Speaking about the last several years of graduate classes, she said, “I got out of it what I wanted to, and it feels so fulfilling like ‘Yes! I did it!’” Looking back, Lindsey realized how much she’s grown in the last several semesters. Lindsey added, “I’m a much better writer. To come out of a program with that skill is going to help me the rest of my life!” Though there were challenging moments, and even times when she wanted to quit, Lindsey pressed on. When asked what she would tell a future student who is considering NCU’s graduate program, she said, “Do what you’re passionate about, and don’t let anything stop you. It may be difficult, and people may not understand, but that’s okay because when you’re doing something that sets you on fire, nothing else matters.” Lindsey was awarded the Outstanding Graduate of Biblical and Theological Studies in April of 2024. 

Throughout the last 3 years, Lindsey has watched God grow a new passion and joy for faith in her heart. From textbooks and long research papers, to reading Bible passages, to sitting in the shadows where David wrote Psalm 23, she summarized it by saying, “Everything was worth it.” For Lindsey, her Master’s degree in Biblical Theology isn’t simply a piece of paper or a new achievement—it’s now a piece of who she is. Lindsey concluded with, “I don’t think I was able to truly wrap my mind around what Jesus did for us on the cross. God himself came down from heaven to pay the price for our sins. He knew nothing we could ever do would be enough, so he chose to die for us instead.”

Lindsey Semrau, Spiritual Life Grad Assistant – 2024 Outstanding Graduate Student of Biblical and Theological Studies