WHAT IF YOUR CALLING ISN’T WHAT YOU EXPECTED?
Sometimes our calling causes us to cower under the covers. Sometimes we respond with uncertainty and fear when we hear Him speak our name. Sometimes, we respond with dread. Because sometimes God calls us to do crazy things. Sometimes He calls us to build that great big boat when there is no sign of rain. Sometimes He wants us to go to Nineveh and risk our very lives to share His good news. Sometimes He calls us to care for people who seem downright impossible to love. Sometimes those unlovables live in a distant land across the sea. Sometimes they reside right under our own roof. So we love, not because we feel compelled. Not because the prospect propels us out of bed at the first light of day. We love simply because He commands us to and because He loved us first.
Sometimes our calling doesn’t make logical sense. Sometimes when He blinds us with His brilliance and we fall to our knees—ready to obey, others will dismiss us and doubt our place. Sometimes our calling seems far beyond our reach. Sometimes we feel shockingly ill-suited to the task. Sometimes when the burning bush beckons, we think of innumerable excuses to explain why we are not the best person for the job. But we get up and go. We march into Pharaoh’s court with our knocking knees and our stuttering speech because He who calls will also equip. He promises His presence and His power. And these things are more than enough.
Sometimes we won’t get to see the results of our work. Sometimes we may not see any measurable effect. Sometimes we will labor for years and see not one soul saved. Sometimes we won’t get to build the Temple or enter the Promised Land. Sometimes our prophetic cries in the wilderness seem to fall on deaf ears. Sometimes our witness will land us behind bars. Yet we keep our eyes on the eternal prize and strain our ears only to hear the ultimate “well done.”
And sometimes we don’t feel His pleasure. Sometimes we sense only silence. Sometimes we endure only the piercing pain. Sometimes we sit in the slimy belly of the fish. Sometimes we may beg for the cup to be taken away. “My God, My God!” Sometimes we feel forsaken. But we take up our cross and we follow Him.
So, yes, sometimes God’s calling looks like a miraculous virgin birth or the parting of a sea. And sometimes it looks more like a wander in the wilderness. Sometimes it looks like a nail-scarred hand. And sometimes—blessed Sunday—it looks like redemption and an empty tomb. Always it looks like discipleship and requires obedience.
So may we have courage to face the furnace when necessary. May we have the tenacity to circle the city for the seventh time. And—regardless of whether it comes via an angelic announcement or a burning bush or a still small voice—may we have keen ears and willing hearts that will hear and heed God’s call.
Kelli Worrall is a professor of Communications at Moody Bible Institute. This essay is excerpted from Pierced & Embraced: 7 Life-Changing Encounters with the Love of Christ (Moody Publishers). 05.01.2018