My faith in God, like any other human being, comes with a small, occasional flicker of doubt. I believe the feeling comes when God’s message is too obvious for us to accept, or it’s too faint over all the craziness that accompanies our lives. My call into ministry wasn’t a profound, obvious I’m-telling-you-to-do-this sign, but it was a message I had to work through and unravel. I’m still trying to understand the whole message God is giving me, but one thing is very clear: I’ve been called.
All of us, in some way or another, have been called. A recent book I read titled “Is God Calling Me?” explains calls in three different senses. There’s the universal call that each follower gets to serve God, the call to serve in a church, and the call to ministerial leadership. My calling is certainly not normal or average, but I don’t pretend to completely see God’s plan yet. One of the things I struggled with most is excuses.
When I was in middle school, we had this strange, off-the-wall idea for discipline when students didn’t do their homework. Someone actually thought that the best way to handle these slackers was to put them in a room during their normal daily gym class, and instead of doing gym, you did the work that you failed to turn in. Needless to say, that class was filled up a LOT. I was in there quite often, being the fan of gym that I was. In the class that the assignment was for, we had to fill out a red slip of paper, and on that paper, we had to write our name, class, assignment, and why we didn’t do the work. My excuses were very colorful, almost all of which were lies. I was sick, forgot it, left my book at school, and anything else I could think of.
Getting my call was no different. I would think, how on earth can God think I can hold a job that’s meant to teach and set an example when I’m anything but perfect? God is going to use me? Is this a joke? In the Old Testament, God sees the oppression of his people and decides to send Moses to lead them out of Egypt. Moses was one of those men who had a story behind the face. He ran from Egypt after having killed a man, and he stuttered. When God appeared to him in a burning bush, Moses offered every excuse in the book. “But God, they know what I did. They would never listen to me! And I can’t speak well. God, send someone else.” But the Lord said, “No. I want YOU to go. I’m sending YOU.” God knew that Moses had murdered someone and that he stuttered, but He had a plan. And remember, all things are possible with God.
There’s doubt, and there’s shame, when we’re faced with a call. When God first began pressing on my heart to pursue ministry, I had excuses. If I’m meant to set an example, then how can I hold that position when I’m overweight, shy, socially awkward… The list goes on and on. And I said, “God, do I really have to do this? How can I do this? Send someone else.” God said, “No, Jessie. I’m sending you. I want you.”
God sees us and knows much more about us and our future than we do. So when we say I can’t because of this, I can’t because I’m this and that, or because of this, we aren’t believing that God makes everything possible. Jesus said that with the faith of a seed, we could cast a mountain into the sea. What could we do with a little more faith? What could we do if we just stopped for a moment to take in the idea that God can make all things possible? Tell Him about your doubts and your shame, and then ask Him to take away anything in your life that’s standing in the way of fulfilling His purpose for your life. And then, be prepared for your prayer to be answered.