But I know that I've struggled with this notion of calling, and I can see it in some of my students too. Sometimes I have really struggled with whether I am following God's call. It sure would be nice if He would paint His message to me in blazing letters across the sky! Or at the very least, send a direct message to me in a way that I can't possibly miss...
|Image by garryknight [CC BY 2.0]|
So many people in the Bible are called by God with dramatic stories, and I think this might be why we sometimes struggle with trying to discern our calling. Think about just a few of the characters we meet up with in scripture:
Abraham seems to have directly heard the Lord's voice calling him to pack up and head out to a new country that he knew nothing about. But in addition to hearing directly from God, the Lord offers him tremendous promises of blessing, which no doubt gave him courage and comfort.
Isaiah received an amazing vision while in worship--he saw the sky peel back and he was able to see right into the throne room of heaven! And while the Lord's message to him was hard (paraphrasing: "You're going to preach a hard message, and people will harden their hearts in response."), the words and actions in this vision would have given him the boldness he would need to convey this message.
Jeremiah, young as he was, tried to argue with God when he was called to serve as a prophet. God made it very clear that He was equipping him with the words to speak and the strength to speak them.
Paul has one of the most amazing stories of calling in all of scripture. He went from being totally opposed to God's work to serving as one of the most effective missionaries ever. And the change? Brought on by a blazing light, the voice of the Lord, a bout with blindness, and a miraculous healing. Talk about a clear calling!
Maybe we wonder why we can't hear a specific word from the Lord the way these people did?
Or maybe I just wish He would be that clear and obvious with me too.
I've been reflecting on this, and I've received real encouragement from one of my former pastors on what "calling" really looks like. Here's where I've landed:
Maybe we are called more like Jesus's disciples. When Jesus called his first disciples, He didn't give them some amazing display of power...He just walked up to them, sized them up, and said, "Follow me." The Bible doesn't give us many details about this conversation; it sounds like the disciples looked at the Lord, blinked for a second, and dropped what they were doing to head out with Him. They didn't quibble or ask for clarification; they saw where Jesus was headed, and went after Him, answering His call. And they followed Him, hiking around the countryside for three years. And they learned from Him, soaked in His teaching, went where He went, and did what He did.
Jesus is calling. He says, "Follow me!" Let's look for His leading, and go where He is going.
Are you called to teach? Maybe! You are called to follow. And if you have the desire to teach, and you've had that desire affirmed by others, this might be just the way you can follow the Lord's leading in your life!
We are called to follow.