God calls all of us in unique ways – I’ve touched on this subject lightly many times before. Where one woman could be called to be a wife, one could be called to be single. Where one woman could be called towards a place in a children’s ministry in her church, one could be called to be a missionary in a different country. God has made us unique, and He plans on calling us to do unique things, based on our traits, our personalities, our weaknesses, our strengths. And regardless of where He leads us, we all face some difficult emotions when He calls us to somewhere, or something, specific.
- We are all afraid. Even if He calls us to do something that most would consider small, fear is natural. Being a Christian in this world, following God, trusting Him with your whole life, and doing as He commands is hard. It is scary. In this world, when we trust in God and go where He leads, we’re going to face persecution. We’re going to be teased, made fun of, ridiculed. It is tough – they don’t call it a narrow road for nothing. We don’t just fear people around us, we don’t just fear the world, fear the future persecution, the future trials, but we’re also afraid of letting God down. How can He trust us with a calling? Something that He finds important enough to command someone to go and do something about it? This goes along the lines of the second emotion we feel..
- We all feel disbelief. How could God call us to do this? How could God trust us enough with a responsibility such as this, as whatever He’s calling us to do. I’ve felt this many times, especially as I’ve seen this blog grow. As I’ve seen the comments go up from one comment a post, to averaging at least 20 comments, several emails, private messages, after I post something. How can I be trusted with His Gospel, with delivering it to people? As I’ve prayed more about my own future, and wondered what He has in store for me next, I’ve felt Him call me to things and I’ve wanted to back away, running and screaming, because I feel such fear, such disbelief. Surely, what He calls me to do is impossible? At least, the world thinks it will be! Surely, revival is impossible. Surely, it is impossible for me, little old me, to make a difference. Surely, it is impossible for me to go out, squash my fears and do something? But the Bible says, “For with God, NOTHING shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37.)
And, if we are trusting God, if we are committed to Him, if we are willing to forsake our sins, our emotions, and trust in Him…we will feel emotion #3.
- We will feel confidence. We will trust in Him with our lives, knowing that..truly..with God, nothing is impossible. That if He is commanded us to do this thing, whatever that thing may be, He is ready to supply us with everything we need to get by – no, not just get by. Get the job done. He is prepared to go out and battle with us. We will give Him the pen of our life with complete confidence in Him, trusting that He will write the greatest story ever.
Amy Carmichael, one of the bravest women that we have seen since Biblical days, I do believe, in the days of Mary, mother of Jesus (who we will talk about in a moment.) and Esther, and Ruth, and so on, one wrote this,
“And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.
I pray Thee hush the hurrying, eager longing,
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire—
See in my quiet places, wishes thronging—
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.”
― Amy Carmichael
How right is she? Shall we pray that God changes His will simply so it goes well with our own? Should we go our own way, or trust in God? We should be praying that He hush our longing, our sinful desires, and replace them with Holy Spirit fire, fire that burns, fire that urges us towards His will.
We see a lovely example of this, perhaps the best example in scripture, of a woman who faces the typical human emotions that we all face when God calls us outside of our comfort zones, to do His will, in Luke chapter 1. First, we read verses 26-30.
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Mary is troubled, she is fearful. An angel of the Lord has appeared to her, and he is preparing to tell her about what the Lord has in store for her. This would be enough to instill some major fear in us, as well. Then, we read on in verses 31-34,
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
In verse 34, we see another familiar emotion – disbelief. The thing that God is calling her to do, be the mother of Jesus, the son of God, is impossible. She has never been with a man, she isn’t even married, yet! But God has planned this for her, God has given her a unique calling, and despite the fact that it seemed impossible to her because she was a virgin, and perhaps, it seemed impossible to her because she felt unworthy. She later rejoices in the Lord because He found favor in a simple handmaid! I imagine she felt similar to how we feel when the Lord calls us to something great, and we know that we are small, and unworthy.
Then we read on once again..
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Be it unto me according to thy word. She felt the final emotion that we should feel as Christians. She pushed her fears back, she pushed her disbelief back, and she accepted God’s calling with no hesitation! She trusted God with this, such a tricky, hard situation, and she was willing to continue listening to Gabriel despite her fears. She felt trust. So often, we ignore God the moment the doubts and fears begin to bubble up, and we push His words down because we don’t trust Him enough. She didn’t to this. She didn’t tell Gabriel to stop talking because she was scared. She didn’t argue with him because she knew she was unworthy! She simply accepted. Be it unto me. And she not only trusted, but she began to rejoice!
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
I’m sure she was well aware that this journey she was about to embark on would be the hardest journey of her life. She and her future husband, Joseph, would be the parents of the greatest man that ever set foot upon this world. Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God. The Man who would come and do miracles. The Man who would heal the blind, heal the lame. Who would walk on water. Who would save us from our sins by dying on the Cross. Just as His mother did – He accepted His calling and trusted in God the Father and died for us. She would watch her precious Son die without being able to help Him. Can you imagine? All of our doubts and fears based on what God calls us to do should seem so tiny now – we may be called to be missionaries. Some may even be called to be martyrs. We may be called to go out and leave everything we love behind us. We may be called to be poor, to be sickly, to be weak, to never marry, to never have children, to be without friends…but we know this. If Mary could accept this, we can accept our calling. If Jesus could accept the Cross, we can accept our calling and trust in the Lord.
I leave you all with another quote from Amy Carmichael…
“All along, let us remember we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey…”
― Amy Carmichael,