The Baffling Call of God
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"1
While it doesn't have to do with age, another thing I struggled with in earlier days was how would I know if God was calling me to some kind of Christian ministry? I went to my pastor for counsel. His advice was: "If God is calling you to Christian ministry, then you'd better do it. If he isn't, you'd better not!" Good advice but it didn't answer my question. I came away as confused as when I went in.
Perhaps the most helpful counsel I received came from Oswald Chambers who described God's call as being like "the call of the sea to the sailor. Only he who has the nature of the see within can hear that call."
In other words, a man who is "called" to be a sailor has, metaphorically speaking, salt water in his veins and he cannot rest until he launches out to sea. So it is with the call of God, one cannot rest until he or she steps out from the safety of the shore and launches out into the deep of what he believes God is calling him or her to do.
Another test is the same as it would be for a musician. Are you gifted for what you believe you are being called to do? For instance, I don't think God calls people who can’t sing on key to be soloists or choir members. As a general rule, although not always, friends can help you face this test realistically; that is, they can see if you are gifted for what you think you are being called to do.
Another excellent test is to try doing what you feel called to do. For example, when I feel God is leading or calling me to do something, I try doing it in a small way to see if it is from God or from myself. I would rather put it to the test and be wrong than, through fear of failure, never step out and try it to see if it is of God. You may need to test what you feel called to do several times because anything worthwhile rarely comes easily. I suggest others do the same. Only you can test what you feel and believe is your call.
Be assured, however, if God has called or led you to do something, he will help you. But we have to do our part too—and get the training necessary to do well what we are gifted for and called of God to do. As a general rule, answering God's call and doing his will is something we will delight in doing—even if it takes a while! As the psalmist wrote about Jesus saying, "I delight to do Your will, Oh my God."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a receptive heart and a listening ear to hear what You might be calling me to do—no matter what that might be. Give me the courage to step out and test it and, if it be of You, get the training I need to do my job as well as possible for Your glory and the benefit of others. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Isaiah 6:8 (NIV).
2. Psalm 4:8 (NKJV).