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Testing the Call to Write

In my 4th post, I shared about my struggle to accept God’s call to write about infertility. I mentioned that I would try to explain how someone in our modern world not only tunes in to God, but also discerns if what we hear is from Him.

What I learned from reading Brad Jersak’s book Can You Hear Me? Tuning into the God Who Speaks, is that we can perform a series of checks to see if what we're hearing is from God. (These checks are God's idea, not Brad's. Brad points to several places in the Bible to support this fact: 1 John 4:1-4, 1 Corinthians 12:1, John 14:16-21, John 16:13-16, and so on.) For those who remember old TVs and radios, these checks are a way of rotating the antennae or the dial to catch the station crisply.

God is speaking all the time; I'm often just a poor listener. I might be distracted or tired or blatantly ignoring Him. So, first and foremost, there's intentionality that I want to hear from God. Brad likens this to the seat of a stool. If I go and sit on the stool, I’m INTENTIONALLY sitting on the stool. I’ve made a choice to go and sit on that stool. So, too, with listening to God. I’m choosing to tune in to God (rather than another voice), signalling that I want to hear from Him. There’s an expectancy that I will hear from Him.

When I’m tuning into God, and I hear something, I can see if what I’ve heard is from God, by checking that it matches with:

  • God’s Spirit,

  • God’s Word, and

  • God’s People (those who are also intentionally tuning into God).

As I shared in that 4th post, I was already tuning in; I was sitting on the stool, so to speak. When I heard God call me to write about infertility, I already shared that it didn’t make sense to me. Once I got past making excuses, I decided to take that “call” and see if the three checks held it up.

The intent of this "call" aligned with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23—it was flowing from a place of love and kindness for my friends. The "call" also matched the Spirit's character in that it focused on Truth-telling. The "call" was specific to writing about what I discovered the Bible says about infertility.

I spent a lot of time reading the Bible, but I approached it with a mix of skepticism ("I'm not going to find any verses that support this") and curiosity ("What if I do find verses that support it?!"). I was surprised to find the Bible affirming the role of alongsider time and again. Galatians 6:2 was a verse that not only came up during my investigation, but was repeatedly shared with me by various others at that time:

"Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ" (NASB1995)

After many months of Bible reading, I scheduled two meetings, each with a pastor from a different church in my city. I shared with them basically what I’ve written about in previous posts. Both of them affirmed the need to have a Bible-based reflection on infertility. They both prayed with me and for me. And sent me on my way to write.

But, as I've mentioned, this hasn't been an easy "call" for me to believe. Even though the call to write passed those three checks, I felt there was an ultimate test.

I had to tell my friends who were experiencing infertility what I was about to do.

In my mind, if my friends who were experiencing this pain affirmed the call, that would show me the work God was doing in me aligned with the work He was doing in them.

(Note: I'm not saying I SHOULD have felt this way or that this was a necessary test. God is gracious and meets us on our journeys. And in honest retrospect, I worried that the "call" would fail this test and I would lose these friendships.)

I remember those conversations clearly—me feeling weighted with trepidation, which caused me to fumble with words, but eventually getting the "call" articulated—followed by my friends embracing me with encouragement. I was dumbfounded, relieved, and terrified.

I still am.

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