NOW WHAT – Week 5 of “faith filters”
“You have to go. You have to serve the Church.”
Those were the profound words in the stillness of the night that began my life long journey of learning to answer God’s calling.
It all started in a cell phone store when I was asking about a new service and the salesperson told me that I would have to sign a one year contract. A soft, still whisper said, “You won’t be here in a year.”
That same spirit-filled whisper led me to a parking lot of the United Methodist Church offices on the campus of Oklahoma City University, where I sat thinking I was going crazy, as I heard another soft, faint whisper, “Go see Larry!” I didn’t know a Larry!!!
With fear and trepidation, I walked into the building, nervously announced, yet also questioned the secretary, “I need…..to see…..? …..Larry?” I expected her reply to be, “There isn’t a Larry here!” (because I’m crazy and hearing voices at this point, right?!)
But she cheerfully said he was on the phone and would be right with me. I sat down, looked around, and saw a sign above the door that said, “Volunteers in Mission.” “So that’s who Larry is!” – I thought; the director of Volunteers in Mission (VIM) for the state of Oklahoma. When he greeted me, he asked me what led me there that day and I laughed, “I’m either crazy or God sent me here!”
I sat in Larry’s office that day as he told me about work needing to be done in Bosnia. Nope! I shook my head – that place was just on the news last night!
He told me about a school in Bolivia. “Where in the world is that even at?” I asked. They were looking for English speaking teachers. “I am a teacher & I speak English,” I said. He asked if I could leave in a week.
I shook my head “YES” while my mouth said, “No. Absolutely not!”
In the days that followed, there were numerous connections, promptings and leadings by the Holy Spirit that called me to pray about moving to Bolivia, South America to be a missionary teacher. I had so many doubts that I argued with God:
I had a Master’s degree I’m supposed to be using;
I just bought a cute fun car;
I just spent the past year traveling around the world. It’s time to settle down.
However, with so many affirmations from the Lord that I got on my knees and told the Lord, “You are going to have to tell me what to do!”
It was in the stillness of the night I heard, “You have to go. You have to serve the church!”
Ten days later I was in Bolivia.
It’s never been an easy calling to continuously answer.
I’ve disbelieved His words;
I’ve doubted His trust;
I disobeyed His calling, and I disappointed his heart.
But all the while, over the past 25 years, God has never questioned, ignored, doubted or disappointed me. Without a doubt, He has continuously remained faithful and I believe with all of my heart, that God is who He says He is….trustworthy, faithful, and true and I have learned to walk by faith, when my heart was full of doubt.
Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For surely I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. Plans to prosper, not harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”
This has been one of my favorite verses since high school. I’ve (almost) always have trusted God’s plan for my life. Even on those days when I wondered where He was leading me, wondered what He was doing. On days when I doubt, question, and wonder, I reflect on all the mission trips I’ve been on and remember how Big God really is and I am reminded that no matter what, He is worth serving!
Where is God calling you to go? Next door to a neighbor’s house? To share the gospel with a co-worker? To minister to someone grieving?
You may not know the words, but God will give them to you. You just have to step out in faith to serve Him and love others!