During a recent reading of God’s call to Jonah, and how he chose to go in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:1-3), I was reminded of the time when an evangelist asked if I would take up his role and release him to retirement.
During the summer vacation there would be a week spent helping with beach and village mission work. But the evangelist felt he was getting too old for that kind of work, and recognised the need for a younger person to take his place. His question came so unexpectedly that my immediate response was to question, "Is this man, or is it God calling me?"
After declining the invitation, there followed many years of heart searching. "Has God’s call been rejected? Have I been disobedient and grieved the Holy Spirit" etc? So I prayed, "Lord, if I was wrong, please forgive me. Show me clearly and I will go wherever You send me and do whatever You tell me to do". Later events showed me that this was God’s way of waking me up to the fact that He was preparing me to hear His call into a new dimension of service for Him.
When, eventually, God did call, there was the immediate thought, "surely, He’s got the wrong person". It took twelve church elders to confirm and assure me that it really was God calling. Then, on becoming obedient to that call, it was the beginning of a far deeper experience of the power of God at work than had even been considered possible.
How many times could it be said that we are like Jonah when God calls us? Where, for a variety of reasons we are unwilling to trust and obey Him. In the process of our disobedience we miss the experience of seeing Him do amazing things in grace as He reaches out to touch others in some special way.
We know how, in grace, God saved Jonah from drowning in order that he might fulfil the call on his life to speak to the people of Nineveh to save them from God’s judgment. How many people might God be longing to speak His grace to, if only they are willing to respond to His call and put aside their personal preferences?
Reflect on the words of the verse above, and consider what God might be calling you to do for Him.
Prayer: O Lord God, forgive me for the times I may have heard you calling without recognising that it was You. Please sharpen my hearing and help me to recognise Your voice as different from other voices so that I may be obedient to what You are saying, I pray. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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