Seminary Brothers Say ‘God Will Use This Time’ During Coronavirus Isolation

Graham (left) and Joe Waller, pictured in a family photograph during happier times, are coping with the isolation brought on by COVID-19. The brothers, both students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, are adjusting to new realities and alternative educational platforms.
Submitted photo

NEW ORLEANS — For Joe and Graham Waller — brothers as well as New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary students — moving to online classes during the stay-at-home mandate is bringing adjustments and lessons.

Graham, blind since childhood, continues with his Leavell College classes online, listening to lectures in two classes and logging in for voice lessons via social media.

Joe, a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) student in theology, sees advantages in the all-online format such as a sense of togetherness in classroom discussion now that everyone is online rather than a few joining as distance-learners.

Both know the times are filled with uncertainty.

For Graham, the isolation brings some loneliness. He misses interacting with others on campus and at his volunteer job at New Orleans’ WWII Museum, a favorite pastime that fits with his love of history. For Joe, his on campus job is “on hold.”

Still, Joe and Graham believe God is at work.

“My mom is always saying, ‘God doesn’t waste anything,'” Graham said. “He’s going to use this somehow.”

Author of the book of poetry “As I Learn to Walk,” Joe penned the poem “At The End” weeks before the outbreak, a reminder to readers that God brings good out of bad times. The poem reads: “How many hours of testing will reveal themselves to be the reasons for our joys? … How many things seemed only to offend but deepened both my love and faith in you?”

Graham misses the coffee shop he frequently visited close to his off-campus home. It is now closed.

With the WWII museum closed as well, Graham misses working with other volunteers and his opportunities to talk with WWII or Vietnam War veterans.

“Even if I didn’t get out much before this started, the fact that I can’t get out now is weighing on me,” Graham said.

But Graham has been through tough times before.

The brain tumor that robbed him of his sight came when he was a child. A verse he learned in Bible drill, Psalm 56:3 — “What time I am afraid, I will trust in You” — helped him through the difficult time.

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Source: Baptist Press