A Story to Tell: A Light on my Path

April 15, 2019

Before I enrolled at Sioux Falls Seminary, I was experiencing what many would call a “divine discontentment.”  I knew that God wanted me to take the next step in my vocational journey, but I had no clue what that meant!  So, sensing God’s leading, I started looking for an answer.  I considered taking night classes at a local Christian college, but it didn’t seem like the right fit for me.  I also began looking at new work opportunities, and I even interviewed for a youth ministry position at another church.  But right as they were about to offer me the job, I sensed a still small voice telling me, “This isn’t it.”  I withdrew my name from consideration.

Author Mike Harvat

After about six months of searching, I was ready to pull my hair out!  Why would God burden me with the task of discerning my next steps without giving me a clear path forward?  But then I remembered one of my favorite passages from the Psalms, which reads, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Ps 119:105).  I love this verse because it reminds me of the many camping trips I attended with the Boy Scouts growing up.  I have plenty of memories of exploring the woods with my friends at night, equipped with nothing but flashlights and a desire for adventure.  When you’re in the woods, a flashlight is only good for lighting the path immediately before you – if you want to see much beyond the trees and overgrowth in your vicinity, you’re out of luck.  I think that, at times, following God can be just like that.  He gives us just enough light to take the next right step, even when we can’t see much else.

So, I chose to trust God.  I didn’t know what he had in store for me, but I knew he was preparing me for something.  It wasn’t long before I walked into my office one afternoon and found a postcard for Sioux Falls Seminary lying on my desk.  To this day, I’m not even sure how it got there, but I knew it was an answer to prayer.  In a matter of months, I was taking my first class, enrolled in the Master of Divinity program.

There is no doubt in my mind that Sioux Falls Seminary is where God wants me to be.  In my time as a student, I have grown not only as a pastor but also as a person.  I have been equipped, challenged, corrected, and encouraged to pursue God’s call on my life to serve Jesus and love his Church.  I now have just a few requirements left, and this part of my journey will be complete.

It’s funny how looking back makes the path you’ve taken look surprisingly clear.  When I think about everything that led me to where I am, so much of it seems obvious!  From the encouragement of my pastor growing up to the affirmations of friends and family, it’s not surprising that I ended up in seminary.  I’m just thankful that God led me to Sioux Falls Seminary!  I pray that I will continue to follow him, trusting that he will make my path clear – just as he always has.

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