Molded and challenged by God

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by Sarah Smuda –

Newly commissioned and ordained, Lt. Sarah Smuda gave her testimony at the Service of Appointments on Sunday afternoon, June 14. Her speech is below, edited slightly for publication.

I’m amazed and blessed to stand before you today, representing my session at this significant moment in our lives. We have walked together these last two years, experiencing both joy and times of great difficulties. Through it all God has refined us into the people standing here. This Witnesses for Christ Session—its members—are a source of strength and encouragement for me.

I am now a newly commissioned officer—all I can think of is how in the world did I get here? Well, I can tell you the answer: by God’s grace. On my own, I never would have made it to this point.

During the last two years, God molded and challenged me. He has changed me. I am not the person I was when I arrived. I doubted I would make it because I knew I didn’t have the ability in me to be an officer. I was aware of my flaws and mistakes, but I came to realize that I don’t need to have ability—I need to be obedient. God has transformed me from a baker and youth worker into a Salvation Army officer. It is by the grace of God I stand before you today.

When I came into training my faith was strong, but it was shallow and superficial. I saw the world in black and white. I was zealous but lacked depth. To me God was not a mystery, but simple and easy to know. I thought I knew him.

I once heard God described as a multi-faceted diamond, each side revealing his beauty with its cut accentuating the depth and reflecting the light to sparkle and catch the eye. This interesting idea of God holds truth because no matter how much we study and seek God, he can always turn another way, revealing more beauty. God has been spinning me around him showing me more of his radiance, capturing my imagination, inspiring awe and reverence.

As I stand here today, I have a sense of excitement marked by the question of the unknown. This afternoon we receive our first assignments. This isn’t the beginning of our ministry—since we have all been ministering for a while—but this day marks a new beginning and a significant change in our ministry. It’s overwhelming.

I’m not sure what the future holds or where I’ll be sent this afternoon, but I do know one thing: my hope and trust is in the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. God is faithful and trustworthy so I will cast my anxiety upon him for he is righteous and good.

Eph. 2:8-10 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (NKJ).

God is working in all our lives as we submit to his will. We stand before you a session of people committed to follow God and serve humanity. Thank you to all who helped form us into the people we are and for allowing us to serve and minister in this Salvation Army.

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