It seems that a lot of people that I have talked to lately are struggling with what God is calling them to do or to be. While this “wrestling with God” can be difficult and many times unclear, it is a good sign that you are willing to be open and honest with God as you reflect on how God is speaking to you.
Some are struggling with a decision to lead a better life, one that is lived in accordance with God’s desire to draw all of us closer to Him. Others are struggling with a calling that God is leading them to make more of a difference in their community or in the world, but how, they are unsure. And some of us are seeking what God is calling us to be vocationally.
When I think about this “calling” from God, I find it helpful to look at how different people in the Bible were sought out by God. While the Bible has many examples of how God calls us, there are three “calling” stories in the Bible that I would like for you to consider: The calling of Moses, Saul/Paul, and Samuel. In this post I will focus on Moses and in my next two posts we will look further into the calling of Paul and then Samuel.
First up is Moses. In the second chapter of Exodus, Moses has just killed an Egyptian that he saw beating a Hebrew, “one of his own people.” (Exodus 2:11-12). Moses then flees to Midian, which is present day Saudi Arabia. It was in Midian, many years later, that God spoke to Moses from a burning bush. God tells Moses to go before Pharaoh and deliver a message from God and then to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
Do you remember how Moses responds to God? Moses answers God’s call to him by trying to come up with every reason possible to get out of that call from God. The first rebuttal to God is: “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). The second excuse was: If the Israelites ask for your name, “then what shall I tell them?”(Exodus 3:13). The third attempt to distance himself from God’s call was this response from Moses: “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1).
We have not heard the last of the excuses from Moses: The fourth one was, “I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10). The fifth and final try from Moses to resist God’s call was: “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13). If we read the next few verses in Exodus we are told that, “the Lord’s anger burned against Moses.” However, God continued to provide Moses with a solution to each and every excuse that Moses offered up. This fifth excuse from Moses is one that I have used too often in my own life: “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” And if you are honest with yourself and with God, you have probably said the same.
We don’t want to be inconvenienced or challenged to go beyond our comfort zone which will cause us to be uncomfortable. Most of us want to follow God and his commands for our lives but we want to do so at a distance. The world that we live in suggests to us that to follow Jesus and his teachings are foolish. It’s much easier to say to God, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” This is what I did for about a year until God made it very clear to me that He would not release me from this calling to be a minister.
I continue to struggle with God’s call upon my life and I imagine that I will continue to do so until I die. God is constantly at work within us and all around us. We want God to work quickly and with as little pain as possible. God, however, must refine us and for that to happen we must be willing to step out of our comfort zone and follow Jesus. It won’t be easy but it will be rewarding. As you know, Moses did decide to follow God’s calling and he became a humble and obedient servant of God. Moses started off slow but after he made to decision to obey God, the Lord used him greatly in delivering Israel from Egypt. How will you allow God to use you?