Recently, due to some issues in my own life and several friends, I have been reflecting upon calling. I can remember several distinct times when I felt God calling me: my salvation experience at the age of 11; my call to serve in the local church in 1988; my call to serve internationally in 1992.
I have understood and taken the call that God placed in my heart and life very seriously. Therefore, when I found myself in the US for medical reasons in the fall of 2016, I was focused on getting well so that I could return to that call.
It meant everything to me, yet, during my recovery time, there were at least 2 distinct times when I was uncertain that would happen. The first time: in the hospital when I found out that I had stage IIB cancer, and in the spring of 2017 as I walked to church. Both times, I felt God’s reassuring hand on my life and the message was that God was with me no matter what the future held.
During my almost 15 years with IMB, there have only been a few times when I thought maybe I should leave my position and return to the US. All of them have been fleeting moments with no real serious thought of going home. There was one time in 2015, when our organization offered early retirement and I had to consider, but even then, God’s call remained true.
Since I returned to Ukraine in September 2017, I continue to recover from cancer surgery and chemo. Most days I feel great. However, this winter has been hard! I have not felt well often. It has been discouraging… and there have been those moments when I thought it would be easier to go back to the US.
In those moments or days, I reflect on God’s call on my life. I hold on to the promises of God, my favorite being Jesus’ promise to always be with me. His call on my life is what moves me through those moments.
IMB leadership adopted some key terms in June 2016. In the section on calling, it is written: “What must be constant in a disciple’s life, however, is faithfulness to God’s call, no matter the cost, until God calls the disciple to different service.” Oh, how my heart agrees with this!
Satan is going to attack us. Life is going to throw us “curve balls” at times. Work, family, church, ministry… all of them can bring frustrations. But there is one constant that remains… God’s call! That’s what we must hold on to with all our strength! It is the one constant when surrounded by the fickleness of this world.