Written By Crystal Brockington, USA
She had lost the baby.
When I heard that she was expecting, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that this woman—whom God had revealed to me a few months prior that she would conceive this year—was already pregnant! I squealed with excitement and literally jumped up and down. I couldn’t wait to rub her belly and watch her wear motherhood like a crown.
But in the midst of our celebration, I felt it—the unmistakable signal from heaven that God wanted me to do something. For me, it felt like a sudden intense heat inside my body. Sometimes, it can also feel like the moment a roller coaster drops, or as though I’ve just eaten three Thanksgiving dinners.
In this case, the feeling was accompanied by a really strong desire to pray, along with the certainty that something was not right. Like so many times before, I could feel the prayer rising from deep, deep inside of me. If I had opened my mouth, the words would have fallen out without me even having to think about them.
But I held them in.
I didn’t want to make a scene and I didn’t want to seem dramatic. I told myself that I could pray for Sara’s* pregnancy longer and better in my private time with God. I told myself that I was imagining the fullness and the heat in my stomach, that the prayer which was sitting in my throat like acid reflux was just a trick my mind was playing.
But experience had taught me better. By this night, I knew that I could not ignore God when He asks me to interrupt normal life and pray for people. Sometimes, He tells me things about people and instructs me to tell them. Most times, I have no idea what I am going to say or what I am going to pray until I hear the words coming out of my mouth.
I remained speechless, still clutching Sara’s arms and looking beyond her shoulders long enough for her expression to drop.
“What?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I lied.
I asked how far along she was.
It felt like the wind had been knocked out of me as I heard a voice from above say, “She is going to lose the baby.”
The urge to pray got stronger. I still chose not to do it.
My expression dropped. I shook my head. I hugged her and said congratulations.
I don’t know for certain whether my prayer would have changed this tragic situation. What I do know is that in that moment, I missed an opportunity to walk in my calling. Sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Our culture may have over-complicated “calling” to mean some pinnacle of our lives or something to be attained, but I am speaking of calling in its simplest definition—a strong urge towards a particular way of life.
In that moment, when I fought against the urging of the Holy Spirit to lead my friends in prayer for Sara’s pregnancy, I knew I was missing an opportunity to walk in alignment with the Holy Spirit; I was going against the strong urge to obey God.
We all have the same calling.
Although our lives and our individual purposes differ, at the core we are all called to the same thing: obedience to God (James 2:14-26; John 14:23-24). This truth is the true measure of success in our lives.
Every believer is called to this obedience for the sake of furthering the kingdom of God. We have all been commanded to love those around us (Luke 10:29-37; Matt 22:39), to set an example with our lives, and to make disciples in the process. We are called to crucify our flesh daily by laying aside every desire that hinders our devotion to Christ and His Kingdom.
We are called to be salt and light in the very places that we are now. We don’t need to wait for permission or a sermon to remind us to live for Christ and His kingdom. We simply need to respond with obedience to what the Lord is saying. For me, this realization has been quite the journey, and as you can gather from the story above, it is one that I am still on.
However, I don’t always get things right in my pursuit of the selfless obedience. Still, God lovingly, graciously and mercifully restores me when I fail and strengthens me to keep trying.
Your calling is now and later and even after that.
In Christ, we are free to run the race that God has set before each of us. We are free to grow, learn, and to be useful within the Kingdom at every stage of our development. What that looks like is obedience, regardless of the life stage we are at. We cannot put off being salt and light today as we wait to be called tomorrow.
As Christians, we are not to measure success by how much popularity or profit we attain, but by how much we accomplish our purpose: to hear what God says and do what He commands at every stage of our lives. This is the height of our calling.
Consider Noah. The humble man who found favor in the eyes of the Lord was called to be the man from whom all the inhabitants of the earth would spring. Only he and those who were connected to him were spared the judgment of God. Noah’s calling was great, but it was also realized progressively. When he was living his life righteously, he had no idea that God was going to instruct him to build an ark in the middle of the desert. He was simply doing what he could to honor God. Then, when the instructions were released to him, Noah labored faithfully in his old age to construct the boat.
Noah walked out that calling his entire life, by living in a way that honored God and by following specific instructions. We must do the same.
Bringing God glory isn’t always glamorous.
Christian culture today has a somewhat romantic view of what it means to be called by God. The phrase churns up images of powerful ministries and reaching the unreached people groups. Not everyone’s manifestation of the Great Commission looks like this, however.
Being the Church extends far beyond formal services and preaching engagements. We are all called to partake in ministry, but not all of us can be employed by the church. Some of us are called to be accountants, to bring Biblical wisdom to the business sectors of society. Others are called to bring encouragement to the lost or hurting as they bag their groceries at the local supermarket. Some others are called to teach, and to fervently pray for generations of children as they pass through our classrooms year after year.
At this point in my life, I am called to write and to pray. I am called to encourage those around me who seem downcast. I am called to say whatever God tells me to say to whomever He sends me. It is an unglamorous but meaningful time when I yield to His Spirit and, moment by moment, walk the path that He is setting before me.
Yes, some callings are more glamorous by the world’s standards, but none are higher or lower by God’s standards. Whether a pastor shepherding in a mega-church or a mother shepherding her children and the local Girl Scout troop, we will all stand before the Lord and have our works judged one day. I don’t know about you, but from today on, I want to build only things that can withstand the testing of God. This means taking actions that are motivated by my love for God and a desire to bring glory to His name—and not simply to make a name for myself.
Today, we can aim for victory tomorrow by wholeheartedly applying ourselves to the situations and opportunities that the Lord has set us in now. We can choose obedience over pride. We can lay down the idols that we erect in our hearts when we strive for higher callings by choosing the highest calling in every moment: obedience.
*Not her real name