Saturday, August 6, 2011
The Call of God
Tonight it was my friend Anne's birthday and so I got invited to a Lebanese restaurant to hang out with Anne and her friends. It was great to meet many others who too have set their hearts on pilgrimage and who are here serving the Lord in different capacities. It's such a small world as it turned out that one of them is the head counselor at Daughters Cambodia, one of our Ratanak partners. Tonight as I saw opposite two of the women who are with Anne's agency called Interserve, I was again reminded about the Call of God. When He calls, we have no choice to obey and even if we try to run from that call, we soon realize the futility of our efforts. For He will keep wooing us until we surrender to Him. For those He calls, He confirms and He is so gracious to lead and direct our steps whether we are 'willing participants' or 'unwilling participants.' This evening I heard two different testimonies and yet these stories are just examples that the call of God on each of our lives is as unique as the personalities that He has created in each of us.
The first gal I spoke to came to Cambodia in 2007 and was simply here to support a friend. Missions was not even in her radar screen per se, but during her 3 week visit, God began to stir her heart for Cambodia but as she noted, she was not interested. She had 'reasons' to refuse the call --- 'a house that needed a new roof that was costly, a potential relationship and health concerns. But during that time as she was 'wrestling with the call' her body developed a rash and she had a sense that the Lord was trying to get her attention regarding 'the call.' So she prayed and repented for her 'disobedience' and shortly thereafter the rash disappeared and she felt led to ask the Lord for a 'second chance' to go to Cambodia. Interestingly enough, the mission agency initiated the connection with this particular individual and she knew at that point she could no longer deny the call on her life. God was orchestrating and initiating the journey forward and He was wooing her to His purposes.
The second gal's story is so different. She too was here helping lead short term teams from the U.K last summer and as we all noted, Cambodia has a way of getting under your skin. So too in this situation and this person felt led that God was calling her to move here. She was a willing participant but didn't want to rely on her feelings. She needed confirmation and so she prayed and prayed, asking God to show her a sign, asking Him to open the doors and she would simply keep walking through them. As time went by, she continued to pray until one day she met a friend of a friend---a total stranger at a fellowship event and without knowing what was on her mind, he gave her a note with the following comments: 'Rejoice in the Lord for He has called you' and quoted Hosea 2:23 - I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. I will say to those called ‘Not my people, You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.” God had clearly spoken. She was now on a quest with the Lord.
Each of these stories are reminders to me that God's plans and purposes for each of our lives will not be thwarted whether by our own inadequacies, disobedience or unwillingness. He welcomes us as we are with all of our excuses and our conditions and in and through that process, He peels off the layers before our eyes, He removes the excuses and the smokescreens we put up and He confirms so clearly that the only option that lies before us is to say 'yes Lord, here I am, send me.' As I think of these sisters in Christ that I just met for the first time, and the journey that the Lord has set before me, I am reminded of a verse from 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 given to me from one of my mentors. 4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. This Lord that we follow, does not leave us where we are but sees what we can become because He is the one that gives us all we need to live out His call on our lives. He is the one that enriches us in EVERY way, He is the one that CONFIRMS our testimony, He is the one that gives us the SPIRITUAL GIFTS to do His will, He is the one that will KEEP us firm to the end, for He is FAITHFUL. There is no other like you Jesus! Thank you for believing in us when we often discredit our disqualify ourselves from the Call. Thank you that you have called us not just to yourself but you have called us for a purpose that is unique to each of us! Teach us and show us what it means to live out our uniqueness in You and for You!