CALLED: From I Can’t Do It To There’s A Fire In My Bones

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July 18, 2014

A NOTE FROM ME: This week I’m headed to the Rocky Mountains to take my son trout fishing for his 14th birthday. The Daily Text this week will come from entries in my book, CALLED?! Following a Life Filled with the Possible (which is how I got started writing the Daily Text in the first place). As a further gift to you, our Daily Text readers, I want to give you a Digital Edition of the entire book.

This gift will be available all week for anyone who visits the site. Take the opportunity to encourage and family and friends to come over for a visit. We can’t promise coffee, but we will give them a book to go with it. Get Your Book Here.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

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The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
   I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.

CONSIDER THIS

Talk about “dirty jobs.” None can top the prophet Jeremiah. Some sense the calling of God on their life from their earliest days. God called Jeremiah in the womb. Despite this, most seem to find one way or another to disqualify themselves in the face of calling. Moses was too old. Jeremiah claims himself too young.

particular-ways-particular-peopleThe reality of being called by God should be a normal occurrence among God’s people. This does not imply that we should necessarily norm the particular ways God calls persons in Scripture. These stories instruct and guide us, though we need not insist on their experiences being replicated in our own. That said, many people through the centuries can point to a clear occurrence of calling in a defining encounter with the living God. The God of the Universe, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, still speaks in particular ways to particular people. He still calls out to many listening ears, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” On occasion he still whispers the names of those he calls in the watches of the night. Sometimes, the experience of a calling can be as dramatic as Jeremiah’s. “I have put my words in your mouth.” Wow!

All too often we actually run from the “called” life. One of the oft-cited poems of those who have struggled in responding to God is called, “The Hound of Heaven,” by Francis Thompson. Here’s an excerpt:

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’.

Later in his prophetic writing, Jeremiah famously penned the futility of resisting the calling God placed on his life.

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9

JOURNAL: We all deal with internal and external resistance to the idea of pursuing the “called” life. Make two lists, one for internal resistance (i.e. fear I can’t provide for my family, concern I’m not qualified or that my past disqualifies me) and one for external resistance (i.e. my family will disown me, my employer doesn’t get it, etc.) Often, simply getting such things out of your mind and onto the paper can help your processing.

Excerpts this week are taken from my book, CALLED: Following a Life Filled with the Possible. I’d like to give you a free copy — see the invitation at the top of today’s post.

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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