The Baffling Call of God
Isaiah the ancient prophet wrote, "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
Another thing I struggled with when I was a young man was how would I know if God was calling me to serve Him in a full-time capacity?
One of the most helpful pieces of advice 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 sea within can hear that call."
In other words, a man who is "called" to be a sailor cannot rest until he launches out to sea—the call is in his heart. And so it is with the call of God. One cannot rest until he/she steps out from the safety of the shore and launches out into what he/she believes God is calling him or her to do.
A good test is: "Are you gifted for what you believe you are being called to do?" As a general rule, although not always, friends who know you well can help you answer this question more realistically.
Another test of God's call is to try doing in a small way what you feel you are being called to do. For instance, if you feel called to be a teacher, learn a subject well and offer to teach a small class in your church. After practice you will see if you are gifted to teach or not. When I feel I'm being led to do something, I always start in a small way to put it to the test. If it fails, I know it wasn't from God. However, we may need to test our call several times because nothing that is worthwhile ever comes easily.
Be assured, however, if God has called or led you to do it, He will help you. But we need to do our part too. Once we feel assured that God is calling us, we need to be adequately trained for the work we are called to do. True, we are instruments in God's hand but it is our responsibility to make and keep the instrument sharp ... and in tune!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, give me the courage to put to the test what I sense You are leading me to do. I'm willing to do what You want me to do ... just make it plain to me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Isaiah 6:8 (NIV).