Oct 14, 2008

From the Desk

by Jennifer Schmidt

There are times in life when our attitude warrants a substantial reality check. In my own experience, I deserve much more chastisement than blessing from God. Approaching a single day, situation or conversation without seeking God’s wisdom is possibly the most foolish thing one can do. Only in misguided pride do I walk into a circumstance without first seeking God’s blessing.
But that is exactly what I do on a daily basis. The progression is subtle. Missing a morning’s time of prayer or choosing to keep the Bible closed for just a bit longer only prepares a path for self-destruction.

I marvel at God’s movement in my life. His is a strong and mighty presence though I ignore it all too often. Allow me to be specific. Over the past weekend I attended the Baptist Press Journalism Conference. In the midst of “how to” seminars, there was a consistent reminder from faculty and conference speakers to acknowledge the Lord. They were preparing us for careers in journalism, but the foundational message that I walked away with was “go where God leads you.”

One man in particular, an accomplished photojournalist, asked me what I would be doing following graduation this May. With a bit of tongue-in-cheek honesty, I responded, “I have no idea. I have a lot of options.” He looked me straight in the eyes and queried, “Have you been quiet before the Lord? Have you asked him to show you where he wants you to go?”

Even four days later the question haunts me. My answer is no, and suddenly the whole of my life comes into crystal-clear focus — honestly, “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?” I felt as if this man who had known me for all of five minutes could see right through me — my frenetic schedule, my scramble to “take care of things,” my implosive, self-focused lifestyle. Of course, he knew none of these things.

The catch in this whole story is that a few weeks ago, a dean at Liberty told me that I should spend time in complete solitude with the Lord. “Everyone always finds time to spend a weekend with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, but who spends a weekend with God?” he asked. Good question. Since then I haven’t followed through on that advice, and perhaps that is why such innocent questions from a stranger I met in Tennessee left me speechless. He may not even realize the impact his simple questions had on such an unassuming student. But I know that his faith in God far surpasses mine. I know that he would never pose such a question if he hadn’t experienced the power of such faith in his life. And I know that God was once again trying to get my attention. With X amount of days until graduation, and a huge question mark waiting for me on the other side of May 9, my only goal at this point is to spend time with my Savior. He’s been calling, and it’s time to pay attention.

“And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves,” Heb. 12:5-6.


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