Last year I read the book Radical (David Platt) and it absolutely shook up my little comfortable world. I’ve never felt called to ministry or missions, and was previously fairly comfortable in the little Christian box I had myself tucked away in. Intentionally I had tried to shelter myself from the realities of poverty, sex trafficking, and other statistical tragedies that happen around the world. Somehow distancing myself from the facts allowed me to sleep with a freely and undisturbed conscience. Though I have known there are thousands of people groups who have never heard the gospel, not knowing their geogrpahical locations always made the reality seem less real.
My husband traveled to Nicaragua on a missions trip last fall to an unreached people group. I was so proud of the work their team accomplished there, the willingness of their hearts to go (they traveled for 54 hours o get to the village!) and also excited to hear how God was working among the natives. Since Curtis got back from his trip I have been praying that God would break my heart for what breaks His and literally “call me to go.”
During a morning devotional this past week I read about the call of Isaiah. I’m familiar with the story, but reading an excerpt by Oswald Chambers had me wanting to study it further. I am convinced it’s vital when we are seeking God’s direction (call) for our life and where He “wants us to be” to understand what happened here.
In the beginning of chapter 6 Isaiah is having this incredible vision from God and actually seeing Him seated gloriously on His throne. Can you even imagine that? He’s hearing the seraphim (similar to angels) cry out “Holy Holy Holy” and immediately realizes how sinful He is by comparison! In response Isaiah quickly cries out and confesses His unclean lips and the sinfulness of his people. The seraphim touches his lips to coal and declares his sins have been atoned for. (chapters 6:1-7)
Have you ever read a story in the bible and thought, I know what happens next? Then you re-read it and you realize it didn’t go down exactly as you thought it had. I always thought essentially God told Isaiah directly to go and of course obediantly he responded with the famous phrase, “Here am I! Send me!” I’ve always missed it.
In my Uthmost for His Highest Chambers says, “God did not direct His call to Isaiah— Isaiah overheard God saying, “. . . who will go for Us?” The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude.”
It was only once Isaiah had a clean heart before God that He could hear the call and respond with such eagerness and willingness. Isaiah’s response was a reflection of a heart that was so attuned to God (free from the incredible barrier of sin) that His only response was one of complete self abandonment and submission.
God is a gentleman. He doesn’t call one with force, pleading, or manipulation. The call is for everyone, though few can hear it, and even fewer choose to respond to it.
As I ponder how and when God will have me go to Nicaragua this year my prayer is that I would quiet myself enough to listen to His call. My prayer is that I would not expect God to stop and say “Now, you go…” but would rather allow Him to mold my heart’s sensitivity into a servant who longs to serve wherever the needs are presented.
If you are seeking direction into which ministry oppertunities to dive into in 2013 may I suggest the following thought? Focus on maintaining a clean communication line between you and God (confess and ask forgiveness regularly) and then wait. Closely watch where there are needs around you and consider it’s quite possible that in those areas God is simply waiting for you to respond to the call of “who” with an eager, “Here am I! Send me!”