As we grow in knowing God, we grow in knowing His voice. Redeemed and covered by the blood of Jesus, we have the gift of entering into the presence of our Creator, who is faithful to speak to us, whether that be through the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) in our hearts, through Scripture, through a vision, or through other people He puts in our lives. The question is, when we hear God’s voice, will we obey?
Obedience can be challenging, especially to our flesh and to our earthly way of thinking, but it always brings a blessing. Through the example of “the father of our faith,” Abraham (Romans 4:16), and through my own story of being called to the nations of China and India, I want to encourage you to pursue the presence of God, listen for His voice, and obey His leading. When God calls you into something new, He will be with you every step of the way. He will fulfill His promises to you, and He will bless you abundantly!
radical call, radical obedience
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4)
When God called Abram to leave his home country to an unknown land, he had every reason not to go: Abram was settled in his home country, with wealth and property; he was surrounded by family; and he was seventy-five years old, seemingly too old to make a major move, much less start a new life.
But God made Abram this promise: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Abram may have been settled, but he had no sons or daughters, no one to receive his inheritance and carry on his legacy. But God promised him he would become a “great nation”, and that from Abram- later “Abraham”- many would come, and that his name would be known.
So Abram went—and faced numerous challenges along the way. He and his wife Sarai entered Egypt, facing hardship and trial there. They tried many years to conceive, unsuccessfully. They faced separation from their family. It would be many years before he would see the fulfillment of God’s promise to him, but Abram remained obedient and faithful. In Genesis 15:6, it says Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Abram didn’t need to understand how the promise would be fulfilled, but he believed that it would be. And in the end, Abram received the land, the son, and the generations of offspring promised to him- “And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:12)
a vision in the sky
Not long after I became a Christian, in 1973, I felt the call of God to go to the nations. As a junior at the University of Maryland, I saw a cloud formation in the sky of a world map—but China and India were twice the size of every other continent. I asked the Lord in that moment what the vision meant, and He told me that I would impact every continent for His name’s sake, but especially Asia.
My immediate interpretation was that I would drop out of college to become a missionary, but God had different plans. I didn’t know how this promise would come to pass in my life, but decades later, I am experiencing the fulfillment of God’s call for me to “go” in a way that has exceeded even my wildest hopes and expectations. Through Harvest International Ministry (HIM), I am able to make an impact by raising up leaders and building the Church across the nations, and in particular, China and India, to an extent I never would have been able to do in my own strength.
When God calls, go! The destiny He has planned for you is far greater than you may have ever imagined. I encourage you today to listen for His voice—I can assure you, He is speaking! Spend some time in His presence, meditate on His Word, and declare His promises over your life. When He speaks to you, move forward with His guidance. God may not be calling you to something that seems “safe,” but His calling always comes with grace to walk it out, provision for the vision, and incredible blessing.