“In that moment my husband and I both looked at each other with this knowing expression. At that instant we both knew that if called, we would go.” – KJ
After spending more than a year overseas our family is so thankful to be back in the United States. One of the things that we missed the most while living abroad was having a home church so when we returned, we were thrilled to find one that we easily fit into and are able to worship at. This morning, at our weekly service, our Pastor shared his vision for where the church will be headed in the coming years. Just a few days earlier in the week I gave my husband a list of places that I thought I wanted to visit for mission work (all were said in more of a flippant manner rather than a tone of seriousness). However, this morning as Pastor started discussing a plan for missions sponsored by our church he started naming places that he would like to see the church outreach to. My heart started to beat. Not in excitement but of almost dread. I could hardly shake the thought “Lord, please don’t call us. Please DON’T call us.” In that moment my husband and I both looked at each other with this knowing expression. At that instant we both knew that if called, we would go. It sent fear and anticipation through my body. For years I have lived by Isaiah 6:8 “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!”
Except this time, I knew He might actually send ME and I wanted to scream “Oh noooooo!” Then I thought “How long would He send us?”
“Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
Really God? REALLY?? Basically you’re telling me that if you send us somewhere, you’ll decide where and we’ll stay until you tell us otherwise. This was not very comforting. I took a deep breath and realized that I was getting WAY ahead of myself. I had to remind myself that if God decides to use us, He’s going to not only use in a way that will glorify Him but also prepare us to do so and will equip us for the task ahead. Plus, He may not call us at all.
I have to admit that surrendering to a calling is not always easy; even when the calling may be something simple. A few years ago my daughter decided that she wanted to give soccer a try with a newly formed church league. I signed her up then waited for a call from the coach to know when practices would start. A week went by, then two then it was nearing the first game of the season but we still didn’t know who our team was. I called the church office and was told “Well, we have this one team for your daughter but we don’t have a coach.” I felt a sense of disappointment because I knew that meant that my daughter and five other kids wouldn’t be able to play ball for the summer. I said “I wish I knew something about soccer.” The secretary said “No experience required.”
It was as if God was taking away all of my excuses “And” she said “YOU set the practice times for when works best for you and the rest of the team.” Umm okay, this is giving me NO option to back out. I still reluctantly agreed though because I still knew NOTHING of the game except that players weren’t supposed to use their hands as they kicked a ball up and down a field. Still, having never played a soccer game or even seen a game other than occasional highlights on TV, I signed on to coach the team. Although saying “yes” was easy, I knew the job wouldn’t be. It meant no other plans for the following two months because of practice and game times. It meant dealing with parents, kids that I wasn’t used to, other teams, other coaches and more responsibility including the responsibility of actually teaching these kids something about the game that they wanted to play. Oh and did I mention that I was also responsible for leading their devotionals every week in hopes of teaching them more about Christ?
To most this may not sound like much. At the time, I was reeling from a bout of depression, had just begun working fulltime, we lived in a new town with new people and were building new lives and let us not forget, from a previous posting when I announced that, I was the fat kid. Yeah, the fat kid was now coaching soccer. THAT would facilitate confidence from players and parents. I was scared; about as scared as I was this morning at the thought of heading off to a third world country to witness to a people group whom I didn’t have the foggiest about. I had to step out on faith that if God called me to fulfill this role that He would also show me what I needed to do and how to do it. I spent the summer learning to play soccer via YouTube. Learning new self disciplines that I hadn’t been accustomed to, adapting to schedule changes and turning to God for continued strength. In the end, “my” kids pulled off a 5-0 season, built friendships that continued well after the season ended and taught me that some of God’s greatest challenges come in the smallest forms and can teach us so much. That summer, without a doubt, was one of the most difficult yet rewarding times of my life. Just as I know a mission trip would be.
It may not be easy to reply “Here am I, Lord.” When He asks “Whom shall I send?” But I can guarantee it’s worth the answer and remember when He calls you, He is also saying “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:19
Have you been called by Christ? Please feel free to share your story.
Is He calling you now? Take a deep breath…the answer He is looking for is “Here am I.”