Q: How can I know if it's really God calling me or just a whim?
A: I sat holding on to the seat in front of me as if there was some unseen force pulling me out of my seat, and I was not ready to move. Was it God calling me to overseas ministry or just the intensity of the moment? I was a freshman in college. I wanted to do what God wanted me to do, but there were so many unanswered questions and what seemed to be too many hurdles.
As if to get God off my back, I finally went forward and said, "Okay, God, if this is real, then you are going to have to prove it to me." Two days later, I received a letter from my grandmother. It would be the only letter that I received from her. Later I found out it was the only letter she sent to any of her nine grandchildren.
As I read, my eyes fell upon the words, "I am praying today that the Lord will make it clear what you should do with your life." Immediately, I looked at the date and time at the top of the letter. I could not believe she had written those exact words at the point when I had found myself at the altar. It was as though it were a letter from God himself, "You see, I am serious — I am calling you."
In Acts 13:2-3, we see both the involvement of the Holy Spirit and of godly people as they sent out Paul and Barnabas. When God calls us to do something, He seldom just says it once — He always finds a way to confirm His call, and usually it is through the saints of the church. Some may not have the benefit of a godly grandmother, but we should always gather people around us who can be used to speak into our lives.
Confirmation rarely comes by just sitting back and waiting for something to happen. Confirmation comes in the midst of action. Acts 13:4 tells us as soon as Paul and Barnabas were called out for a special work, they took steps to action.
So did that mean that I needed to quit college or change my major? I was studying to be a math teacher. No! It meant start right where I was.
A group of us formed a ministry called "Mandate" from the Latin word meaning "Sent Ones." One of the foundational points of the group was that if we were called to go, then we were called to go right where we were now. We began serving in nearby cities. In fact this emphasis was so strong that subsequent leaders changed the emphasis completely away from an overseas ministry, focusing on serving where they were now in local ministries.
So you are asking yourself the question, "How can I know if it's really God calling me or just a whim?" First, look for confirmation from the saints God has gathered around you, and then continue to look for confirmation through service that starts right where you are today.
Finally, in 1 Chronicles 22:19, David counsels his son to seek the Lord with all his heart and then and only then begin to build the temple. When you struggle with the question of God's call, turn the question around, and ask yourself, "Am I seeking God, and not just His plan, with all my heart?" Only then will he give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4 says, "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Kevin R. Brunk, his wife, Joan, and their family are living out the call in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific Region.
Please Note: This article was originally written in 2014. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication but may have since changed.