As I was sitting at the lunch table with several new friends I noticed a small place-card. Hand written on one side of the card was my name and on the other side was a piece of Scripture that read, “Here am I, Lord, send me!”
I was dumbfounded. Only hours before I had told a priest in the Diocese that I was discerning a call to the ordained ministry. The person who placed this card at my table had no idea of my calling. I hoped this weekend would help me in that discernment process; but now, I was feeling pressure to ‘work’ on my call.
That was in February 1993. I struggled for years before deciding to turn the process over to God – who was in control anyway. I experienced many other incidences like this which kept confirming that I was doing what God wanted me to do – one step at a time.
It hasn’t always been easy. There have been setbacks and successes. What I have discovered is God’s call to us does not always lead us where we expect to go. It is not always about great appointments to grand religious edifices or preaching to vast seas of communicants. Most times there is a single person God wants us to speak to – a single set of ears in need of the message. God’s call to us is about being faithful – to the Gospel message of God’s love for all people, to the work He has set before us, and faithful to His desire to live in relationship with us.
Isaiah found what we also know. God’s call is never easy. Ministry is messy and often not simple to understand. The world pushes back against us and we push back against God. But we are called to be different and as disciples of Jesus we live in the midst of God’s love and when we hear the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” we respond as Isaiah did by saying, “Here am I, Lord, send me!”