The Baffling Call of God
"The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 'Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.'"1
What does it mean for the word of the Lord to come to us? That is; how does God call people today? Quite probably it is different for everyone who has ever been called of God for special service.
Speaking personally, I could count on one hand the times that I have felt that God challenged me "with a 'special word' from the Lord." No, I've never heard an audible voice from heaven, nor have I ever seen any "writing on the wall." The first occasion was when I was in the hospital following a minor accident on a construction site. I was all stitched up and feeling pretty sore when I turned on my bedside radio and "just happened" to pick up the only religious program on air for that entire day. The moment my radio came on these were the very first words I heard: "If I should stand before the Master tonight, would I empty handed go?"
Wham! It felt like an invisible arrow had pierced my heart. For 2-3 years I had been struggling with "the still small voice within" drawing me towards Christian service and ministry. I just hadn't recognized it as the call of God. As I look back, however, had God not been calling me, I would never have been struggling with it. But on that hospital bed there was no more doubt in my mind. I "heard" God's call loud and clear and prayed, "Okay, God, you win. I know what I need to do." That was the day I made the decision to go back to college to train for Christian service. For some of us God has to hit us over the head with a "4 by 4" as it were in order to get our attention.
True, God doesn't call everyone to be a Jonah, a missionary, a pastor, or a specialized Christian worker, but he does call every one of us to be a faithful servant and witness for Jesus.
So, if you should stand before the Master tonight, would you empty handed go? Or would you hear God's welcome, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord?"
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have called me to be a faithful servant and witness for you. Please help me to be faithful in service and effective in my witness, and please use me in some way to help bring others to you so that when I meet you face to face I will not be empty handed. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Jonah 1:1-2 (NIV).