Justin is a family friend. Memories include laughing at inappropriate jokes with him, his wife, his siblings and parents as well as praying alongside him on yet another trip the Rich family decides to take. Whether it be to Africa, India, Haiti or Austin - the heartbeat of this family is to love God and obey His call. And it shows. Justin and his wife recently took a massive step of faith - and it's been encouraging and challenging to watch them live life as God intended: obedient. I’ve been searching for answers. Answers to questions I had no intention of asking. And although my intentions have been noble and honest, my searching has been in vain. I wasn’t called to search at this stage of my life.
I was called to obey.
There’s nothing quite as demanding to us as people as sitting… waiting… listening…
But here I am… sitting… waiting… listening…
I moved to Austin, TX from Atlanta, GA with my wife and two young sons in mid-September. We did so as a major leap of faith. We didn’t have employment lined up; we didn’t have a substantial bank account to lean on in case of emergency; we just knew God said “Go,” and we said “Yes sir.” We gave up our securities and our comfort for a calling. People look at situations like ours and think, “How weird. God wouldn’t call you to a place where you have no job and no income. They can’t have heard from God.”
But is it really weird? All throughout the Scriptures, we read of followers of God giving up everything for the sake of the Call. At this year’s Catalyst Conference, Francis Chan spoke on this very subject. He has decided to step down from his successful church in Simi Valley, California for no other reason than God is calling him elsewhere. No scandal, no sin.
Just the Call.
And people are calling him weird and a radical.
I guess I’m weird and a radical, too. And so, too, was Abra(ha)m, Moses, Gideon, Peter, Matthew, John… I could go on.
We should strive to be real Christians; Christ-like; the likeness of Christ; the reproduction of our Savior. And in doing so, we should follow His Call.
I’m not saying that God is calling everyone to a life of poverty, and that we should all move to the jungles of Brazil. What I am saying is that God is calling everyone to a life of more than, “my iPod is broken” or “If I don’t get some Starbucks in me, I’m going to go off on somebody.”
Americans, especially, have this me first mentality when it comes to the Will of God for our lives. How will this benefit me? How will I succeed? What will I be doing? We’re so caught up in us that we miss out on the true blessing of what God is really calling us to: a life completely and absolutely dependent on God.
As part of His Call, God does not promise us a life filled with butterflies and double rainbows – a care-free, pie-in-the-sky existence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He promises us storms. He promises us struggle and hardship. But there is one more thing he promises: that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He will always be right there.
When God called us to Austin, I knew it would be difficult. I wasn’t expecting to skip along the yellow brick road with the Easter Bunny and Franklin the Turtle. I’ll have you know that having no income to speak off is no walk in the park. But it’s a good place to be in, if for no other reason than you become solely dependent on Jehovah Jireh (as if we need more reason than that).
God calls us to brokenness because in our brokenness His strength is made perfect. In our brokenness, it allows Him to be God. It makes a way for Him to mold us, shape us into the very being He desires us to be. And in following the Call, it allows for us to do just as St. Francis of Assisi said: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” In our obedience, the Glory of God is revealed. In our suffering, God is put on center stage. In our times of hardship, He is magnified. Trust me, I know. In the last month of unemployment, God has provided two months of rent, money for food, money for all of our bills to be paid, and the understanding that He is who He says He is.
So rather than feeling down about your current circumstance, sit… listen… wait…
What is God teaching you? What is God saying to you? What is God birthing in you?
Will it be difficult? Will it be tiring? Will it be exhausting? Sure.
But in the end it will be so worth it. Blessing flows from obedience.
Be obedient to your call.