I honestly had no idea if the work God had called me to was changing lives, and recently I had felt a little disheartened. Then, someone shared a beautiful story of how Jesus had met with a friend, and they had decided to follow him. This friend had sighted something that I do regularly in my ministry as a key part of that journey, something that I had no idea was making an impact. I was overjoyed to discover that God had met with someone.
Why do we underestimate God when he’s called us to a specific place, people, or task? There’s no quick answer to that question, because we all have our own unique contexts and backgrounds that have shaped, and still shape, our understanding of God, and what he is capable of. For me and my family, God keeps calling us to the opposite of what I thought we’d be doing; instead of working with a charity in India living in a slum community, we are living in rich rural areas serving in the Church of England. Throughout my faith journey I’ve largely been involved with various independent churches, and I was always warned of the Church of England and of institutional rural tradition, and I can see that I’ve carried much of that into my ministry. But I also know that God loves to move in unexpected places, with unexpected people. Which narrative have I listened to the most? The one ‘the church’ have told me, or the one God whispers to me?
Listening to God’s heart can be drowned out by those who have a different vision and can’t see the one he has given you, and it can be drowned out by the drudgery of life when nothing ‘miraculous’ or ‘life changing’ is occurring. When we are just called to be, and do the few things God has given us, in an unexpected place with unexpected people, we can get disheartened as the years go by. We then tend to listen to the neigh sayers that have lodged themselves into our memory. It’s the classic story of Peter on the water. Are we focusing on what’s going on, or not going on around us, or are we focused on Jesus?
I want to encourage us this week, that if God has called you to a place, people, or task, he is working with you. He wants to meet with us and the people who we are called to walk alongside, so let’s be expectant. If your gaze is not on Jesus, stop and take the time to fix it once again on him. Our calling is from him and found in him, so let our hope and vision come from him and let’s listen to his whisper.
Jo Allen Director: South West