When I was a 23 year old theology student, I nominated the first woman to be elder in the life of our conservative church. The response: “We don’t feel called to challenge the church constitution at this time.”
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. (Exodus 4:1, 2 NIV)
So far in this series I’ve said a lot about the passions that are a person’s internal motivations, animated by the Holy Spirit, to pursue a calling on their lives. But passion for something will not get you far if you don’t have the tools to do anything about it.
I suggested earlier that God made us such that every person desires justice for all people. The result of being created this way is a lingering sense that what we see around us is not what God intended. Most people feel pretty overwhelmed by the injustices around them, as if there is nothing that they can do. I would suggest that those injustices you are most attuned to are a significant indicator of God’s call on your life.
I believe a Christian can give only one response to the difficult question of suffering. This place is not what God had in mind and he will in fact set the whole world to rights one day…we pray that it comes quickly.
What is your greatest desire? What is the one thing that you would do everyday for the rest of your life if you were able?
There are good reasons that we have been taught to NOT trust our desire. Our desire is often corrupted by the depravity of sin. But often our life callings are driven by our deepest desires that have been resting in our soul just waiting to come to the surface and awaken our greatest joy.
Frederick Beuchner famously said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I’ll explain in some later posts that Beuchner was missing a key component of assessing the tools that God has given you to respond to the world’s need. But his insight that our passions are central to understanding God’s call on our life is still really crucial.
After a couple of years of diving into the depths of theology, it had become clear that the “Sunday school faith” I had absorbed from my local congregation would not be enough to answer my difficult questions. At the same time, the deeply liberal theology of my college professors projected a God that was too weak and too far from the Jesus of Scripture for me to accept. Was I going to have to choose between being faithful to the God that I loved and having intellectual integrity?