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woman raising hands to the sky

photo courtesy of Fernando Audibert

“Here I am, Lord.
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.”

Today at my church, we ended the service with the beautifully stirring “Here I Am, Lord,” written by Dan Schutte in 1981. I love to sing this hymn. It never fails to fill my heart with the Holy Spirit. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this hymn has been an anthem for my own relationship with God.

All I wish to do is God’s will because I know that His plans are far better than anything I could want. That thought used to scare me. What if I fall in love with a man who turns out not to be in God’s plans for me? What if I want a career that will make a comfortable living for me, but God needs me elsewhere? What if He wants to send me to a foreign country to dig wells? What if He wants me to do a job I would hate?

I heard a verse from Jeremiah on the radio one day:

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

My life changed that day. Of course the Lord doesn’t want me to be miserable! He wants me to grow and to be refined under His guidance. What if it is not the Lord’s guidance that causes such pain and frustration, but the struggle against His will that makes us miserable? I decided to try it; if God promised me that His plans for me were good, I would let Him lead me wherever He needs me. I thought of myself in my rational mind as one of those television sitcom characters from the 1960’s: “it’s just so crazy, it might work!”

It is several years after that day now. My life has been blessed and all my needs are met. I still have no idea what the Lord needs me to do for Him, but I wake up each morning confident that I am on the path He has set for me. I pray over each decision I need to make and I discuss the big ones with trusted advisors whom I know are also with God. The doors that need to open just open. Paths He does not wish me to take become unavailable to me. In the meantime, I don’t fret.

That’s the hardest part – not fretting. I’m a planner. I like to know the plan at least a dozen steps ahead. Currently, I am in my senior undergraduate year at university and looking at graduate schools. While applying to scholarship and fellowship programs, I find peace in praying that God will guide this journey to where He needs me and for Him to place me in the right program with the right funding. God will do His part, I guarantee. For my part, I can make it hard by worrying over every application and school decision, or I can just calmly and efficiently cross my t’s and dot my i’s and trust God to do the hard work.

Today, as our church service ended on Schutte’s inspiring hym, our music director asked us to sing the refrain again without the piano. As the congregation raised their voices, strong and confident, I raised my hand to the sky. “Here I am, Lord! I will go if you will lead me!” I will, because I know that His will is good.