“What If I didn’t hear God correctly?” I asked my husband a bazillions times—maybe more. It was the topic of discussion each night at dinner. One evening, just as I was about to sing the same song, he interrupted me in mid-chorus and insisted I talk it over with our pastor.
Anyone called of God has asked him/herself this question at one time or another. At least that’s what my pastor communicated when I finally dumped all my doubts and fears onto his lap one Tuesday afternoon. He was patient. Listened carefully, and then, shared his wisdom. His words were comforting to my anxious soul. I’d like to share with you what I learned.
First, Ministry is not something you and I choose. God does the choosing. Notice how Paul was called in 2 Timothy 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus.”
Paul became an apostle of Christ by the will of God. We can choose to do any other profession on earth, but ministry. To do ministry, you must be called and chosen by God. Once you’re certain of your call…doubt will turn to confidence.
You and I should be able to pinpoint a certain time when we heard/sensed the call of God. According to my pastor, we should write the experience down. There will be times when ministry gets hard. Doubts can settle in and you’ll need to go back to this moment for encouragement and confirmation to press on. I’m going on 15 years of ministry and I can tell you I followed this advice and very glad I did.
Secondly, God will work in unexplainable ways to confirm your call through circumstances and through others.
I’m married to an accountant with a personality. When I first began sharing with my husband, what I believed God was doing in my personal relationship with Him, he wasn’t completely on board. It was as new to him as it was to me. Looking back, I recognize that God had to speak to Pat in terms he could understand. As for me, I had to be patient.
Upon my pastor’s advice, I returned to our community college to enroll in classes. Since I had been a housewife for many years, it was a good idea. At the time, I didn’t even know how to use a computer!
My husband was sweet to go with me the day I registered. I filled out all the required papers with my birthday, name, both married and maiden, home address, you know, the usual. Then we sat in the office of administration for a long while before the young man, who took my papers, returned.
“Mrs. Campbell?” he inquired.
“Yes?” I answered.
“According to our records your first semester has already been paid.”
“What? How can that be?” I asked. My husband’s ears perked up too.
“When we put your information into the computer, it showed that in 1983 you had signed up for school, paid for a full semester, but never attended.” The boy explained.
He was right. After graduation, I had intended on going to school. Instead I met a really cute guy and ran off and got married. (That’s a story for another time.)
Now, many years later, the school was willing to honor my payment for the semester I never took.
My husband stood to his feet. “Son,” he started. “I’m an accountant and that doesn’t make sense. That payment would have been returned or written off the books years ago. There’s no way it should still be in your files.”
“We agree with you, sir.” Said the young man. “But it is there and my authority said to honor it.”
The car ride home was silent. Eventually, I asked, “Isn’t it nice to have my first semester paid for?”
“Uhhuh.” He mumbled. And that was that.
A few days later, Pat came around and said he was on board with whatever God was doing. When I asked what convinced him, he said it was what happened at the school that day.
Up until then, it hadn’t dawned me. God used that situation to speak to Pat in a language he could understand—mathematics. It was enough to convince him that God was up to something grand. We’ve enjoyed the ride ever since.
When God is calling you, He’ll confrim the call through your circumstances, His Word, sermons, and others. Often, other people can see your call before you can. Listen, walk through the open doors, and before you know it you’ll be right smack dab in the middle of God’s purpose for your life.
One last thought: God doesn’t call us to do great things, but He does great things in and through the servant fully yielded to Him and His will.
If you feel God is calling you into the ministry, you’ll want to check out She Speaks Conference 2015. You’ll walk away equipped and confident in your calling. I’ll be there. I hope to see you there too!