When a Christian responds to a calling from God, he or she is not doing so to impress anyone else or because it sounded like fun. He is submitting himself to God to be used for God’s purposes regardless of personal consequences.
During a discussion in our Sunday School class one lady spoke up about an in-law couple who had been on a mission to a dangerous country in Africa and was making preparations to go back. This lady thought it was horrible they were going to go back. The family was sure the couple would be killed and was doing everything possible to discourage these two people and keep them from going.
She went on and on about how crazy she thought these people were and what a horrible thing they were doing to their family, and she asked us what she should do about it. My response was that she should thank God for their commitment and pray for their safety and the success of their mission. Others in the class said similar things, but she didn’t want to hear any of us. She wanted us to agree with her, which none of us did.
How easily we allow our carnal minds to get in the way of God’s work. This lady was not motivated by any selfishness. She had nothing to gain personally, so she wasn’t exactly putting herself ahead of God will, but she was putting her desire for this couple’s safety ahead of God’s will.
It’s very popular to say that God works in mysterious ways, but when He does so, we want to substitute our own wisdom or agenda for His. That’s what was happening in this situation. My friend didn’t understand why God called these people to their mission, so she put her desire for their safety ahead of God’s will—as did most of her family.
There was a time when my daughter and son-in-law were younger that I thought they might be hearing a call to the mission field. The idea of their being stationed in some strange place where they might be in danger scared me.
I didn’t like that thought at all, nor did I like the prospect they might be halfway around the world from me. Like a mother hen, I wanted them to be tucked safely into a nest near me. Fortunately, however, I realized that God had first claim on them and that His will and His wisdom were superior to mine, and I never said a word to discourage them.
As it turned out, God called them to minister here in Texas, which was a relief to me, but I had to be willing to let them go if that had been His calling. In fact, both my daughter and my oldest grandson have made mission trips to a somewhat unstable area. Two weeks isn’t the same as a fulltime calling, but I still had to deal with some level of uneasiness when they went. But it would have been completely out of order for me to try to interfere with the calling.
If friends or loved ones announce a call from God that sounds dangerous to us, our position needs to be one of encouragement, whether we understand and agree or not. We need to remember that they’re human and also have fears, just like we do. The fact they are being obedient to God’s call doesn’t mean they have no fear or doubt. We should never be in the position of encouraging such fears and doubts. We should never try to keep other Christians from following God’s will, be they distant acquaintances or our own children.
How would you react if God called someone near and dear to you to undertake some activity you consider to be dangerous or that you simply don’t understand? What would you do if you encountered great family resistance to something God called you to do?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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Amen, David, I agree!!!! Love, Jane
If I truly felt God wanted me to do it, then I would. My son Gray entered the U.S. Army during the Iraqi conflict. I didn’t really want him to do it as I felt it would be very dangerous and he could be killed or seriously wounded; nevertheless, whether it was because of God’s calling him or a sense of duty for one’s country, it was his decision and I had to honor it.
Great wisdom, Sharon.
When my daughter surrendered to God,s call on her life, her husband was confused and not real happy. He just knew she was going to be called to be a missionary in a far away land and wasn’t sure he wanted that. She assured him that God would work out what was best for both of them. She has had a children’s ministry in there community for many years.
Thanks, Melinda. God ALWAYS works what’s best for His children.