Experiencing Trials in the Calling
Have you ever felt called to do something…it doesn’t make sense..you’re terrified.. But you know it’s from God. You start taking steps forward.. And then BAM… trial after trial..the waves of the world start crashing down on you.. over and over. Trying to stand up on the shoreline trying to appreciate the beautiful beach in front of you..excited to put into action this new call- heck maybe even have a little fun collecting seashells or building a sandcastle, but instead..massive waves come crashing down time and time again… And as soon as you feel like there is a break, you can finally stand up, BUT THEN another, bigger, more powerful wave knocks you back down? Or when you feel like you’re ready to stand up.. You feel so weak- the smallest of waves just totally and utterly end you.
Undeserving and Inadequate
I’m definitely going through a season like this. Where for the longest time, I felt the undeserving blessings of God, the provision, the favor, and the joy of life abundant. Collecting seashells. Sunbathing in the goodness of God.
And then.. Out of the blue.. As I’m just living my best life.. God calls me. He calls me to do something for him.
Something that’s bigger than me.. Out of my toolbox of gifts and talents. Which is funny- because I have very few. So you would think my good Father, knowing my inadequacies would give me a break and call me to do something that aligns with what I’m confident doing. Nope. That’s not how GOOD fathers operate, and especially the Perfect Father.
No no no, he wants to use me and calls me to do this thing..because he knows I will have no other choice but to be totally dependent on him. That’s where he wants us. To be so out of our comfort zones- that only by his grace, mercy, and miracles that what he’s calling us to can be actually pulled off.
1. Trials Reveal God’s Character
He does this for a number of reasons.. He calls us to reveal his perfect and good character to us. He wants to show us who he is.. A loving father. A father that provides. A sacrificial father. A father who makes ways when there aren’t any. A father who performs miracles for us. A father who protects us. A father who keeps every promise. A forgiving father. A father we can trust will do whatever he says. A father who will speak, act, and do whatever that needs to be done THROUGH us. And for some reason.. In our immature faith.. We can forget his character and what he’s promised us.
Parents.. Think of it this way.
When we have to drop off our babies to a babysitter or nursery worker for the first, second, or tenth time..We have to constantly remind them that we will always come back. We not only have to tell them with our words, but show up with our actions. We sing the song “Grownups Come Back” (thank you Daniel Tiger), we speak truth to them all the way to the nursery, and even the babysitter tells them ALL day that Mommy is coming back- yet our babies STILL CRY. We’ve never forgotten them. We’ve never lied to them. No reason for them not to trust us. But because they are immature in their faith in us.. They are still learning who we are…our character as their parents. They still cry, complain, and throw tantrums.
But parents, as you know, as your children grow in their maturity, in their age, in your relationship together, and as you’ve proven to them time and time again that you do what you say, you keep your promises, and you love them more than life… they willingly get out the car and go straight to their classroom, ready for school. Doesn’t mean they don’t have anxiety, nerves, or fears going into school.. But one thing they can COUNT on is that they know the character of their loving parents. Who will pick them up at the end of the day, bake cookies, and have family pizza night on Friday.
This comes with maturity. This comes with faith. This comes most importantly… with having a relationship.
And here’s the best part…
He is still with us in our immaturity, while we are throwing our tantrums and crying. He doesn’t drop us off and leave us to figure things out. Part of his perfect character is that he stays with us at all times. God says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not Fear. I am with you and will help you.”- Isaiah 43:13. He’s literally holding our hands, y’all. With us every single step, through every hardship, because he’s a GOOD Father. He never leaves us, because he loves us.
2. Trials Grow Our Faith
He wants us to trust him. To grow in faith more than we had the day before.. And the day before that. He sometimes- the only way we truly see the character of God, is when our eyes are wide open during those sucky seasons of life. For us to draw near to him.
I’ll be the first to admit- that when my life is good.. And not just good.. But AMAZING. I can oftentimes give myself credit.. And forget about the one who has given me everything I have. I think my success is because of my own intelligence and savviness.(HA) My income is because of my hard work.(BARF) My well behaved kids are because of my awesome parenting.(EYE ROLL) My loving, intimate, perfect marriage is because I’m just such an amazing wife. (SURE BRITTANY)
But here is the deal.. Because we are human- we can’t (and won’t) just grow in faith on our own. He knows that we will take the easy way out. It’s our own survival modes programmed inside of us. Our bodies and our minds are constantly looking for ways to preserve energy. But the truth is, in order for us to grow in our faith to the point where God can trust us to be used by him for his purposes…tests are sent our way. In church, we like to call them trials… or what I like to call them, storms, rain, cold drowning waves.
So WHY does God send crashing waves to us!!
We are his children! I thought he was GOOD. Isn’t he supposed to protect me? How the heck am I supposed to be used by you, God, if I can’t even come up for breath? How am I supposed to be a soldier in your army if I can’t even stand up? How am I supposed to do the thing you’re calling me to do- when I’m just surviving the day?
Well.. let’s go to scripture. What does God say about this?
The Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2
So.. all in all.. We must consider it a sheer gift when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (MSG)
He wants us to mature so that when he drops us off at school, we won’t cry. Tests, trials, challenges.. Arent meant to destroy you. They are meant to transform you. They are meant to mature you, develop you. SO THAT you will be ready to do that thing God is calling you to do. Because he WANTS to use you. He wants you to be so connected to him, so intimate with him, have a marriage relationship with them…so that you hear his voice.. Know what he wants you to do day after day.. And use you to further his kingdom and help his people.
3. Trials Equip Us
Remember how we said how God loves to use those who are totally and completely inadequate and ill equipped to do the things he needs for his purpose? He does this to show his awesomeness, holiness, powerfulness, because he will work through you to fulfill that call. BUT he’s not going to use someone who is a couch potato… just sitting around saying “God Use Me” and not actually doing anything or growing from the tests that were sent. No, God is going to bring you to the desert place, to train you and mold you to do the thing he wants you to do for his story.
Like Moses for example.. He was the prince of freaking Egypt. Which means he had authority. Privilege. Adoration. Education. But because he saw injustice happen, he had murdered an Egyptian and ran away to the desert to shepherd, protect, and lead sheep. Which if you didn’t know, was not a prestigious career. He did this for 40 years. Talk about a dang trial! But this trial equipped Moses, 40 years later, to shepherd, protect, and lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Which was all part of God’s plan. For his purpose.
As the baby of my family taught to keep quiet, an Enneagram Nine who keeps silent in the name of peace, and someone who sucks with words (seriously y’all, words are hard), I have felt called to speak. To use my voice. To tell my story. To teach his Word. And so guess what..as soon as I said, “Here I am Lord. I will obey.. Use me. Speak through me. Give me confidence and courage to do what it is you’re calling me to do”
Yep. You guessed it. WAVES ON WAVES ON WAVES. The last 18 months of my life have been hard. It’s been a desert-land. But the beauty of God.. is that I can look back at 2021 and most of 2022 and the trials that came with it, and see God provide opportunities for me to speak up, when normally I would have kept silent. Tests to trust God as my provider and let go of my businesses so that I have more time to study his Word. Giants I had to stand up to, which helped me gain courage and confidence in my calling. Letting go of comforts and conveniences of life, to gain strength and dependency on my Father.
It’s been hard- but it’s also been the most amazing spiritual adventure I’ve experienced in my 20 years as a Christian. And although I’m still completely and totally terrified moving forward, because there is so much unknown.. I know my Father is with me. And after shepherding my sheep for 18 months in the desert, I feel more confident that I can do the thing he’s calling me to do because I know he is with me, working through me.
The person we are now, is not the person God needs for his purpose.
So allow him to mold you. Mature you. Transform you. So you can live a life of obedience, dependency, and intimacy with the Creator of the Universe. Because.. we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good. For those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Stay faithful. God is still calling you.
Keep pursuing him first. Seek him. Find Him. Know Him. And then make his glory known in whatever it is that he is calling you to do! God says, “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. Jeremiah 29:11-14