Many people quietly believe that life will be simplest if they can just identify the call of God on their lives. If we do what God calls us to, He will smooth the way, clear the obstacles, and reduce the hardship.
Nothing could be further from the biblical truth.
The call on Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem produced such hostility and opposition that workers held a trowel in one hand and a weapon in the other. The call on the Apostle Paul to take the gospel to the Gentiles resulted in beatings, whippings, imprisonment, and harassment. Yes, even the call on Jesus led to the via dolorosa.
Be careful what you expect.
This week I listened to Jenny Williamson speak to this theme in a chapel service at William Jessup University. She drove it home beautifully, with important clarifiers.
First, fear often keeps us from our destiny and calling. Expect opposition. Anticipate ridicule and criticism if you’re doing the work of Christ or living for the King(dom). It comes with the territory. It does not mean that the Lord has lifted His blessing or retracted His calling. Quite the opposite.
Second, the obstacles are to declare the glory of God. If the call of God required no serious obedience and no earnest dependence from us, we’d likely take the honor for ourselves. When the voices of darkness and division rail against us, we learn to trust Christ in new and deeper ways.
Finally, when the Lord gives us responsibility He also grants us His authority. He does not abandon us to hardship, but empowers us to endure it … even as it rages before, behind, and around us. “Blessed is the one who overcomes” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21)
God has a calling for each of us that perhaps only we can fulfill. If we fail to step up, or choose to step back, some ministry shall remain undone. Let’s not quickly abandon our obedience just because naysayers rise up or critics find their voice. Instead, let’s find grace and strength in the Presence of Christ.
The calling of God indeed paves the way to the blessing of God “in the heavenly places.” Our present momentary afflictions are not worth comparing to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Are you facing cynics, doubters, skeptics, or haters?
Be strong. Stand firm. Trust Jesus.