Hear the Call

A life without purpose and direction is like a ship without a rudder. Following our everyday routine can dull us spiritually, but when we hear from God, time seems to stop and the message is unmistakable. Many of us can remember the exact moment when we received clear instructions from God on what He wanted us to do with our lives. We may have received the call decades ago, but it seems as fresh as yesterday. More often than not, we received that message with a mixture of fear and joy.

Sometimes when we pray and ask God what He wants us to do, His answer will come as a shock and a surprise. Other times, it will be an affirmation of something we already suspected. But God always answers our prayers, and through His overwhelming grace, He wants to show us the marvelous plan He has mapped out for our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

God spoke this through His prophet Jeremiah when the children of Israel had been exiled, and the people wondered what would become of them. Maybe you’ve made some bad decisions in your life that landed you in a place you didn’t want to be. Maybe, like Jonah, you ran away from what you now realize was God calling you, and you’re suffering the consequences. “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to  Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3).

We can learn from Jonah that we can’t run away from God or escape His love. Getting “the call” can be scary, because usually it’s completely contrary to what everyone else does. The world chases after “stuff” and what it thinks is important. When we step out in faith and trust God, He promises to take care of us. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

When we try to ignore God’s call, we may end up in some pretty scary or discouraging circumstances. We may even find ourselves saying things like, “It’ll take a miracle to get me out of this mess.” Well hold on, because our God is the God of miracles. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

God calls us out of the muck and mire of the world because He wants to set us on solid ground and raise us up high. Just like a lighthouse on a dark and stormy night, He wants us to shine so brightly that everyone will know it’s not us accomplishing all they see, it’s Him. Answering God takes courage. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

God’s unmerited favor is so great towards us that He doesn’t care about our past failures and mistakes—He just needs us to carry out His plans for the future. Yielding ourselves to Him allows Him to do amazing things in our lives, things we could never accomplish on our own. All it takes is a willingness to follow Him. Will you accept the call?

— Creflo Dollar