Calling Out

A few months ago, my faith in God was slowly turning into shambles; my mental health was in a bad spot and my brother was telling me that a high school diploma wasn’t worth it since getting a GED was so much easier (which is what he had done) when I was a short ways away from graduation. My dad was struggling with his two jobs, which barely covers everything financially for us, and my mother’s medical problems were flaring up. Things were really hard and I was questioning His existence as a whole.

The worst night of this, God spoke to me in such a way that His warm and powerful voice made chills run down my back; He started with a message for a friend of mine – let’s call him Ben Affleck (this is God addressing him directly):

“You are going to use those experiences and hardships that you face to change someone’s life. You’re going to go to a foreign country and experience something that is going to change your entire outlook on life and put a lot of personal things into perspective. A young boy is going to teach you a lot of things, but you’ll have to keep an open mind about his culture and living conditions. You’re going to perform a solo somewhere amazing, but you can’t let your vices get in the way of it. Wearing yourself down at school won’t do very much good for you. Something is going to happen while you’re studying at college and your friends will help you through it. One day your dream is going to come true, but you have to wait and practice patience.”

That night, He gave me a message for myself as well. “Your dreams will come true someday, but you have to wait my daughter. Friends will come and friends will go, but I will be your only constant. Keep listening to Me and following My word my daughter, and you’ll get everywhere that you’ve wanted to be.”

Faith can be a tricky thing; some things seem so crazy that they just can’t be true. A day or two ago, He revealed something to me that I had to text my dear friend Ben Affleck, who was also in disbelief. Ever since I was 14, Olivet Nazarene University has been my dream school. My goal was to major in English so that I can teach at a high school level, but according to God and what His plans are, I will instead be majoring in theology for pastoral duties.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and  become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child welcomes me. Matthew 18:2-5

I stumbled upon an article about what it means to have childlike faith; the author described it like this: children lean on their parents for answers to simple questions and know that dependency upon their parents is vital for their basic survival. As we grow up, we learn that our parents do not have all of the answers and we develop a sense of pride that we can find the answers on our own.

God has all of the answers.

I believe wholeheartedly in what God says to me. There is no doubt in my mind that what He says will be will be. I have heard from several people that my faith in Him is stronger than that of people they know that have been Christian their entire lives and grew up in a church. My faith is strong because I have seen my grandfather healed from stage IV cancer twice. I was hit by a car while walking and survived. I have faith that everything happens for a reason and that our existence is meant for serving Him. I have faith that He would never hurt us and painful occurrences are meant to be learned from.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water ad came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:27-29

When we are called to take a step out of the boat, we are taking an incredible step of faith. We are called to trust Jesus ad follow as His sheep, as children in need of their parent’s guidance. Following Jesus is the best thing for us as a body of Christ to do. In Matthew 14:30, Peter begins to sing into the water after becoming distracted by a harsh wind – one of many example how things only go awry when we take our eyes away from Christ. Having the faith of a child means that we are to trust in Him blindly, no matter the circumstances or background noises.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Mr. Talkative

To a non-believer, Christianity truly does seem fake. We eat bread and drink grape juice as if we’re at a toddler’s tea party. How can we communicate with what seems to be a supernatural entity? How can we be sure that there’s really anything out there if we cannot see God or physically converse with Jesus? What if it’s all fake and our belief is for absolutely nothing?

A week ago, I was struggling with all of these things until God decided that it was time for a conversation. Perhaps you may not know what it’s like to talk to Him, but when He speaks, He speaks. I was taken by surprise about a week ago when God revealed things to me about not only what my future holds, but also my best friend’s as if I had laid out a fleece before Him like Gideon (Judges 6:37).

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

It can be difficult to hear God’s voice amidst the notifications of our various social media platforms, but it is possible!

  1. Clear your mind. Remove all of the cluttered thoughts that your day has brought you and think about the Lord and your faith.
  2. Listen. With a clear mind, listen. Listen not only with your ears, but also with your mind, body and soul. Attune yourself with the Lord and allow your emotions to be still.
  3. Talk to God. It can be difficult to give your burdens over to a higher power and confessing your darkest secrets to a higher power can leave you feeling vulnerable, but you must remember that our God is a God of love and compassion; no matter what your struggle is in life, He will offer comfort and an overwhelming sense of peace.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

When we give our struggles to God, he hears us and blesses us as long as we obey His word and follow the pathway that Jesus created. Prayer is the ultimate way to communicate with God, although you can hear God through scripture, music, acts of kindness, and many other things. When we pray, we are listened to and given relief.

As a kid, my parents bought me a videotape at a concert that they went to. This particular videotape was called “The Adventures of Prayer Bear,” in which there is a bear that reminds you the importance of prayer. I recently found this tape on YouTube and it was all about learning about what prayer is. The answer? Prayer is simply talking to God.

Prayer is powerful and afterwards, we can hear God’s response. For me, God’s voice is powerful, yet warm and gentle. God answered my prayer after I told him about my struggle with my faith and my doubt in His existence. His answer? A message for my friend who told me the next day that what God revealed was true.

I keep repeating that God hears us when we pray because it’s the ultimate truth, and if He can hear us, then we can hear Him. As long as we attune ourselves with the Holy Spirit, God will hear us and we will hear Him.