The calling of God is a curious thing, and many have attempted to explain it over the years. It is amazing to me how explainable yet unexplainable it really is. For me, it is something that is established so deeply inside of me that it is more a part of who I am than everything I think I am. To go against this calling would be to deny my very purpose…the very definition of who I am. Over the years, I feel that I have come closer to scratching the surface of this core, but it is a process that will take my entire life.
It’s like a reality that is more real to me than the things I see, touch, and taste every day. However, it is also more mysterious to me than the prize hidden behind door number two. It is a question that only my Creator can answer, and one that He answers His own way. The answer is not simple; rather, it is the most complex mystery man can ever face. To try to, in a sense, “figure out” the will of God, man would drive himself crazy. However, Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 that we are called to do just that: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
There are some things about God’s will that are clear as crystal. It is God’s desire that everyone would come to know Him and experience His love for them. It is God’s longing that we would all be united in heart and mind as we seek His face. He calls us to love mercy, act justly, and to walk with Him in humility. These are irrevocable truths and apply to everyone. The difficulty then lies in the part each of us plays in the great plan. We all have a purpose, and we are all aware that somewhere deep inside we have a purpose, but tapping into that purpose is something that we all wrestle with.
There are several keys that I have found to understanding our “calling” in life. These keys have got to be the most frustrating things I have ever come to know, yet they are lovely beyond comparison. They are what have led me to the plot of land where the pearl of great price is buried. It is that pearl that I would give everything I have to possess. Unlike anything else in life, it is worth everything I have and so much more. I do not deserve it. I cannot give or do enough to earn it. However, by the grace of God, we are given this gift.
It is a gift, yet it will cost you everything. I am beginning to wrap my mind around what it means to give everything. It is not simply a matter of selling everything in my apartment. It also involves being willing to leave my family behind, to give up my reputation, and to sacrifice my dreams to a will that I do not understand. As anti-normal as this might sound and believe me, it is fantastically confusing: there’s nothing in the world I want more than to surrender myself to God’s purpose that is so much bigger than me and deeper than I can comprehend. It sounds like enslavement, but it is true freedom.
The first key to understanding our purpose is the reality that we were made to know God and to be in relationship with Him. So many people I have met over the years inside churches and outside churches misunderstand this most important key. It is not about “religion” which involves a set of rules, habits, and rituals we need to carry out. It is about truly knowing God; seeking Him with all of our heart. Imagine Almighty God of the Universe allowing Himself to be known by someone as insignificant as you and me. The moment we think we have grasped a hold of what this means is the very moment we have lost touch with this truth. It is a wonder and a grace that we cannot take for granted. So many people live their lives dedicated to church programs, wearing themselves out trying to find what has been offered to them freely all along: a relationship with our Creator.
Another key is understanding that we are the ones being pursued. We are on the receiving end of all of this. God has already made the first move, and He continues to do this throughout our lives in big and in small ways. He is the ultimate man, always taking the initiative toward the ones who He delights in: us. We must learn to live in response to Him. I have struggled throughout my life with this concept, because there have been times when I felt that God was doing nothing; moments and years that were seemingly empty. Some call this the Great Silence of God. I prayed and He didn’t answer. I sought but I didn’t find. Waiting for Him seemed like the greatest waste of time. I continued to seek after Him, however, with a desire to know Him and to please Him and I found that God never wastes time or sorrow. It was during these times when I heard nothing that I found He was doing His greatest work yet. He was still initiating. He was still pursuing me. I needed to learn to trust His hand in the dark.
Yet another key to our purpose is knowing this truth: God IS Creator. He did not simply create the world in six days in the beginning and quit. He is constantly creating. I have yet to see two sunrises alike. No two snowflakes have been found to be the same. Each fingerprint holds an identity. Beyond these simple wonders, I have discovered that I am being changed every day. As I learn more about God and seek Him with all that I am, I find that it is He who is creating the masterpiece inside of me. There are places of my heart that even I am unaware of, but they are not hidden from God. He is aware and He is active with every brushstroke, every painful refining, and every splash of color. It has only been since I have settled down in my striving to do this, that, or the other thing (and many of those things I thought I was doing FOR Him) that I have discovered the ultimate peace and joy in sitting at His feet and watching all that He is doing. I love being in on the great secret.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Talk about one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. Two concepts we must learn to understand before we take this completely out of context: what does it mean to delight ourselves in the Lord? What are the desires of our hearts?
Delighting ourselves in the Lord involves living every moment with the awareness that we are His delight. It is understanding that we are not human DOINGS but rather human BEINGS. Just like Mary sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha focused on the chores, we must discover the peace that is offered to us in simply being with Him. At times it feels unproductive and wasteful. We are such a results-driven society. However, God is not simply about the result. He is also about the process. He is completely about the relationship. How many times do I stop to listen to the birds sing outside my window, or pause to watch the fireflies dance under the trees? I could accomplish much more than anyone expected out of me and miss the heart and beauty of God. To miss His heart is to miss the desires that He has placed in ours.
How do you explain a heart’s desire? It goes beyond something we want. In fact, we can want a lot of things that deny our heart’s desire. We must learn to get beyond the petty things that seem so important to us at times. The real treasure is unveiled slowly, dramatically, and timely. It is a mystery that is hidden from us for a time. Once we have seen it, we know that we have longed for it every day of our lives. It is a homesickness that grows stronger the closer we draw to its revealing. It is something so deeply personal that no one can show you except your Creator who placed it inside of you the moment He first thought of you. It is something you cannot exaggerate or over-expect. We have no idea how to expect something so beautiful.
So I follow Him step by step. I walk with Him step by step. There may or may not be ground beneath my next one. It is a dangerous journey that will without question be painful and without a doubt cost me everything. However, there is no treasure greater than knowing God and being known by Him. I have no idea what the future holds. If I could see much further into the future, I might take off running and miss the beauty in the One that I am walking beside. It is not about the destination like I thought for so long. It is not even about the steps along the way. It is all about my Companion. The desires of our hearts are not about an accomplishment, but rather they are a gift. It’s learning to relish in His smile. It is dancing is His embrace. There is so much more to this journey that I am discovering every day. I am enjoying every moment and I wouldn’t miss this for the world.