Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I stand amazed...

Well, the journey continues. It is a new school year and classes have begun. Although part of me, deep inside, was not ready for the year to start - my semester last Spring ended poorly - this new semester has gotten off to an amazing start. I am teaching four classes: two sections of Old Testament introduction, Introduction to Theological Reflection and my favorite: Theology and Culture. The fact that I am teaching these classes is not why I am amazed. Yesterday, after my first Old Testament class, I had a line of students asking me questions about faith and their own faith journey. I stayed an extra 27 minutes after class was finished just answering these questions. What a joy! That is why I answered the call to teach!

Between the ages of 17 and 30 (roughly) we enter into an existential crisis. We ask ourselves the questions, "who am I", "why am I here", "what do I believe", "why do I believe it" and "do I believe it enough to actually live it?" That is where these students are, and at a very basic level, I have been given the opportunity to guide these students through the process of answering these questions.

Although I wonder sometimes how much longer my call will remain here, I know why I am here and I stand amazed at God's plan - that Father, Son and Spirit would use this cracked, broken vessel (me) to be an instrument of His love, wisdom and story. I stand amazed at how He is working in these student's lives. I stand amazed at the changes that take place in the student body when students, faculty and staff embrace the work of the living, dynamic, Triune God in their lives.

I think the most amazing truth though is how He is transforming me in this process as well. When we submit ourselves to God's desire for our lives, He completes us. To be complete means to be changed to suit God's design, but additionally, it means to be satisfied. Change is never easy; but one of the things that smoothes the process is understanding. I understand why God is changing me; I know the areas of my life that He needs to transform in order for me to be what He has called me to be... and I am grateful. Then there is satisfaction. As I operate in the arena to which God has called me, I am satisfied.

So I stand amazed: amazed at my students, my wonderful friends, my precious family, my beautiful God and more than anything, I stand amazed at how God is changing me before my very eyes.

Soli Deo Gloria.


  1. Dr. Smith,
    I have been writing on my own blog about my own spiritual journey, and tonight arrived at my junior year, where God just blew me away in so many arenas. I know that it was your first year at HPU, and I know that you got to witness a lot of these changes in my life. I think it is amazing to look back and re-examine many of the doctrinal issues we discussed in light of my post-HPU experience. Thanks for consistently challenging me out of my comfort zone.

  2. Caty, I am proud of you. Lately, I have made a big deal about "wrestling with God" - the encounter of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32:22-32. Ultimately, the classes we offer our students give them a framework from which to negotiate belief and thus life. Our beliefs (doctrines) are those areas where we wrestle. I will probably 'blog' on it soon. But know that I am thankful for you and indeed the areas where you pushed and stretched me. I look forward to reading your own blog!