We often hear powerful stories of missionaries, pastors, and ministry leaders who all testify to a clear and convicting moment when they were called. And although I would love to say that I have received just such an “aha! moment”, written-in-the-clouds, burning bush, Damascus Road sort of call, working out my calling has never (or at least has not yet) been that neatly packaged.
So what does it mean if we haven’t received an “aha!” sort of calling? Where does that leave us?
From a strictly logical perspective, there are three possibilities:
1. We actually did receive the call and missed it.
While this does seem to hold up as a logical possibility, I have yet to find significant Biblical evidence that supports it. Oh, we could certainly run from our call as Jonah did when he tried to avoid preaching the message to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2) or we could momentarily lose sight of our call as Peter did when he denied Jesus three times (Mark 14:66-72), but to straight up miss it and have NO idea … I just don’t see it.
2. We have yet to receive the call.
Even in Scripture, many of those who appear to have received calls in an “aha moment” sort of way lived rather ordinary lives (at least for a season) that prepared them for their specific call … Abraham, Moses, Amos, Mary, and Paul just to name a few. If our call has not yet been realized or made fully clear, it may be that God is still preparing us to receive the message in His way and in His time.
3. We won’t receive that sort of call at all.
Perhaps a call doesn’t always look like one big dramatic “aha! moment”. Perhaps a call can appear more like a natural progression than a dramatic shift. Perhaps a call can be recognized in the silent and ordinary rather than in the loud and unusual. And although as believers, in one sense we are all called, perhaps a call of this more specific nature isn’t at all necessary to live a life worthy of the Gospel.
But none of these possibilities seems to effect the way we are called to live.
We still take the next step in faith.
We still trust the One who calls.
We still pursue Christ above all else.
By remaining faithful and surrendered, we present ourselves in a constant state of readiness and anticipation so that when the Lord does clearly call, we are able to hear His voice as Samuel did…
“And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant hears.’” – 1 Samuel 3:10 (ESV)
And respond as the prophet Isaiah did…
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’” – Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)
Because we know…
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (ESV)