Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Here am I; send me."

“Here am I; send me.”

Isaiah 6:8

I once asked my husband, “Do you suppose God only sends out the ones who love Him the most?” I knew it was a silly question. But it came at a time when I was considering the actions of a young missionary woman in the Chad. I was told she was a language teacher who taught a small group in one of the well-populated villages there. When refugees began to spill over the border from Sudan, a camp of 100,000 desperate souls was erected nearby. With her brood of five small children in tow, she left the relative comforts of the village and moved into the camp where water and food was scarce and living conditions deplorable. There she set up a new school and the response was overwhelming. The people came in droves, anxious to learn and perhaps better their lives. In the simplest of ways, this faithful woman was offering the dispossessed and persecuted people of the Sudan a glimmer of hope. She heard God’s call and answered with, “I will go, Lord.”

Although my question to my husband appeared immature from a Christian’s perspective, it had a certain ring of truth to it. My words caused a welling up of other questions about my willingness to hear and my readiness to go when God asks, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Is my disposition such that my ears will hear when He calls? Do I wait in anticipation like the Israelites when He sounds His trumpet for battle? And am I armed with the sword of His Truth and ready to march boldly into the fray to help secure as many souls for Him as I possibly can? Do I love Him enough to put aside my idleness or fears and respond as this young woman did? The answer to my questions came from within my own heart and it surprised me to discover that perhaps my question wasn’t as silly and immature as I first thought.

God did not single out Isaiah, or this particular woman, for that matter. Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The call of God is not for the special few, it is for everyone.” God’s favor is not reserved for a select group of people. He extends His limitless love and strengths equally among those who choose Him as their Saviour. Instead, it becomes a matter of our individual devotion to Him and our desire to be always ready to hear Him when He calls. In other words, the responsibility lies not with Him, but with us. And unless our ears are acutely tuned in to His still small voice, we won’t hear Him when He calls us to serve Him.

Responding to God’s call is not a matter of what I think I am particularly suited for. My obvious gifts and talents are not necessarily the reason for His request. We all have a tendency to say, “Oh, I could never do that! I don’t have what it takes to serve You that way!” When we do this, we are telling Him that we know better than He, that our Creator doesn’t understand our perceived limitations, and it is foolish to even ask us. Or we become unwilling participants like Jonah who grumbled and carped his way to Nineveh, only to end up scorching in the sun beside a withered vine and suffering God’s sharp rebuke. “As long as I consider my personal temperament, and think about what I am fitted for, I shall never hear the call of God.” (Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, January 16) But if I am in a right relationship with God and have put aside my own nature and have sought out His, I will hear Him when He calls and respond as Isaiah and this young woman did. I will have a deeper understanding of what it is He is asking and out of profound devotion and commitment to Him, I, too, will raise my hand and cry out, “Pick me! I will go!”

I have discovered that the question I asked my husband was one that needed to be asked. It forced me to examine my own heart and measure the amount of love I have for my Saviour and my willingness to always listen for His voice and respond. I can’t be in the Chad or the darkest corners of Asia and Europe. But I’m sure He’s called me for service in my own family and neighborhood. The scale of the necessity is not important for, to Him, one soul is as precious as 100,000.

So, I pray the next time His still small voice asks for someone to go for Him, my ears will be open and I, too, can respond with, “Hear am I; send me.”

1 comment:

Mama Mimi (Dana) said...

Very thought provoking Karen. Well said.