“To serve God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is expressive of that which if fitted to my nature: God’s call is expressive of His nature; consequently when I receive His nature and hear His call, the voice of the Divine nature sounds in both and the two work together. The Son of God reveal Himself in me, and I serve Him in the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him.” – Oswald Chambers
Last week, I wrote on the topic of finding God’s will. For many years, and still at times, I referred to my personal discovery of God’s will for my life — particularly when I journeyed to a country overseas — as a “calling” from God. I have no better way to refer to it, for that is what it was. I knew I was called to that developing nation and to spend a number of years there. In fact, at the time, my personal desires were not completely in line with that call. I knew it was the place God had ordained for me to go, and I was excited at the prospects, but more often than not my overwhelming feeling, especially as I prepared to go and in my first months (and even years) there, was “What on earth am I doing?”
In other words, it was not some romantic call that I desired to fulfill with my very life. Many times, it felt like a chore. Many times, I wanted to go back home and enjoy the creature comforts that I had grown accustomed to. At times like that, certain verses jumped out at me, such as, “Whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
Does He call everyone to “forsake” all? No. And yes. It depends.
I have found, over time and experience, that He will at some point, ask us to be willing to forsake that thing dearest to our heart. But only so that He can become dearer. And as we do so, this is when we find that we can truly delight ourselves in Him. And that we, more deeply and surely than ever, receive the desires of our heart. Desires that are finally in line with His desires for us.
My calling has changed. Not a clear, resounding call like the one I felt when I chose to journey overseas as a missionary. No, a gradual sense of purpose that rose out of the ashes of a life that I thought was forever broken through loss and “forsaking”. And this call, wouldn’t you believe it, is the one that my heart responds to completely. This purpose is one I feel was fitted for me from the time I was a youth.
So what were my years in service to God in another country? Preparation? Just another call? A test?
I don’t know. But I do know that He began a good work in my life, as He promised to do, and that He continues that good work; that the good work will never be completed in this life. But that He will continue to be faithful. And that His purposes will be established in my life.
And in yours. For “He that has begun a good work in you will perform it” and perfect it and complete it unto the end … until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Until He returns to tell us, “Well done.”