This post was written by missionary Jennifer Pasquale, senior pastor of International Christian Fellowship in Rome, Italy.
Am I called to go? This is the question I have asked the Lord many times. Am I called to go to a new job? Am I called to go to a new place? Am I called to go to this University? Am I called to go on with my normal life? Am I called to shift gears and turn down a new path, now, right now?
You see a compelling close-up snapshot of that beautiful yet lonely brown eyed child, squatting on an isolated dirt road and your heart hurts. You hear the powerful story of the young woman who has had every ounce of dignity attacked in her life and you feel that longing to reach her and let her know how loved and valuable to God she really is. You listen to the Missionary tell his amazing story of reaching the lost and broken in the jungles of South America, in the brothels of Calcutta or touching the refugee survivors washed upon the shores of the beach and your mind races to what the qualifications for this type of work must be and a small taunting voice in your head tells you, You’ll never be good enough to do that, never smart enough to know the right ways, never strong enough to make it, never rich enough to make it happen. The question rings out, ‘Am I called to GO?’
And yet, you love going to your grandmother’s house for Sunday lunch and you hear yourself making explanations to God in your prayer of how you will support missions by staying home and giving your prayers and your offerings. But...the longing in your heart never disappears. You reason, I go as I tell my friends about how He helped me pass last week’s mid-term, every Saturday night at our comfortable and hilarious Life Group. You remind God of the verse in Romans 10, “How will they preach unless they are sent?” And you offer to be the sender. But God reminds you of the verse in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
I have faithfully and mostly joyfully, served the Lord in full time ministry for over 40 years. (I say mostly because there are days I’m not joyful about all the sacrifices, such as missing my beautiful granddaughter’s 5th birthday, or the celebration of my daughter’s engagement party, or sitting with my friend who just lost her husband, or doing a FaceTime shopping trip for my baby girl’s wedding dress at the crack of dawn because of the time change across the oceans.)
But I can tell you there is NOTHING like living on foreign soil as we have answered the call to becoming missionaries that has challenged me more AND fulfilled my heart like this season of missionary service. But with all of life’s opportunities both to rejoice or at times to recoil, the strength of the current of missions, the GREAT Commission, is most compelling as you follow HIS call, HIS way, HIS purpose; totally and fully yielded to Him. You find your self on many long uncertain days, on bended knees beside your bed, drenched in tears at an altar of full surrender and ultimate commitment to run HIS race with full abandon.
So will you be afraid? Yes, but 2 Timothy 1:7 reassures us, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” He will show you what to do and how to go forward.
Will you have doubts? Yes you will. But He is with you. Luke 4:18 says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” Be confident in HIS Holy Spirit to equip you and be yielded as His Holy Spirit flows through you.
Will you sometimes question, did I miss God? Is this really the right thing? YES you will. But He will equip you. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Will you tremble at the thought of learning a whole new language, a whole new money system, understanding for a multiple cultural setting? Oh yes, but God has already equipped your brain, your heart and your mind to face these challenges as amazing opportunities to grow, increase your resume for life and expand the borders of your influence for the cause of Christ!
Will you see the fruit of your sacrifice? YES! But not every day, not always obvious (at first) and not in every setting, but this I know from the words of Philippians chapter 1:
1:6 - “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
1:20 - “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
1:21 - “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
1:27 - “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.”
Another verse that I find particularly poignant is Acts 20:24, in which we read, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
So as you wrestle with the question, "‘Am I called to go?’ I believe the answer is YES! This is where AMAZING happens! And I want to leave you with one last verse, Joshua 3:5. “Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’”