Thursday, August 25, 2011


God has grown me in all sorts of ways. Perhaps one of the ways he has shaped me most is through life plans, leadings, and questions about the future.

He has shaped me by telling me things I didn't want to hear, and leading me to do things I didn't want to do. I remember a time when I thought God telling me to go to China was the most disgruntling thing he could have said—but through that he taught me to relinquish my hold on my life plans.

He has shaped me by forcing me to trust him in his plans for me. I remember learning humility through trusting that since God had told me to go to China, he would provide the means.

He has shaped me by shoving real life and his actual plans against the stubborn framework of my own imaginary expectations. He has continually taught me that I am joining him in HIS work in the world-- he isn't joining mine.

And now he is shaping me once again. I can tell because usually when I am uncomfortable—he is changing me somehow. I wrote sometime ago about how God was leading me to seminary. I still feel that way. I feel the pull to go to seminary, and soon. So as of right now I will be going to seminary in the Fall of 2012. Awesome! Great! That really feels God led. I love it when God tells me the next step!

Except this isn't the next step. After high school the “next step” was college. After college the “next step” was China. After my internship here in China the next step is.... something that fills up time from October to July. And then its time for seminary. You see I don't know the next step. I know the step after the next step.

Which is new for me. God has made me humble myself to hear the next step. He has made me trust him to come through when I knew the plan. But he has never ignored the next step and told me all about the next next step!

Its like God is saying, “So, do you really trust me? What if I don't tell you what is going to happen next? Will you trust that I will still come through even when you don't know the plan? How far does your faith go?”

I could end up coming back to China for another six months. I could end up in Florida. I could end up in Illinois. I don't know. And you know what? I am pretty ok with that.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of things unseen.”-- Hebrews 11:1

~J. L. Smith

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