You won’t miss it

God is very clear when he has something specific for his children

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There was a stretch of time in my early- and mid-20s when I was obsessed with discovering God’s call for my life. It was always at the forefront of my mind, a frequent topic of conversation with God in my prayers. My life was a waiting game, constantly asking:

  • What do you want me to do, Lord?
  • Where would you have me go?
  • What’s next, what’s next, what’s next?

I was on a perpetual scavenger hunt, anxiously turning over every rock and peeking behind every corner, searching for clues that didn’t even exist. But what God has been showing me in my early 30s is that he is—and always has been—very clear when he has something specific for his children. He won’t let us miss it; we’ll know it when we see it.

Samuel was literally sleeping when the Lord called him—and he called again and again each time Samuel went back to bed in confusion.

Moses was with his father-in-law’s flock, minding his own business and tending his sheep as he did on a day-to-day basis, when he encountered God in an ordinary bush made extraordinary.

Saul was on his way to Damascus when he was literally blinded by a bright light from heaven.

Choosing to obey

And although God might not do something dramatic to get our attention every time, I still don’t think he’ll let us miss it. He’ll poke and prod and nudge and wink. But I do believe he lets us choose to respond in either obedience or disobedience. I heard a pastor say that to be a Christian and not follow Jesus is absolute torment, and the pastor is absolutely right. I know it deep within my soul when I’m walking against the wind of the Holy Spirit rather than in step with him.

In 2018 I was given the opportunity to move to Abbotsford, British Columbia, for a 10-month internship with Multiply. I was excited; this was a dream job. I had just completed the TREK program, serving alongside long-term workers in Chachoengsao, Thailand, and now I would be helping to train and send young adults cross-culturally to do the same. I was home in Kansas only eight weeks between the two adventures, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

But it didn’t take long before this Midwest girl felt in over her head.

Just a couple of months into my time in Canada, the loneliness, homesickness and anxiety were raging at full force. I felt unqualified for and exhausted by my job. I missed my family and friends, and I couldn’t find queso blanco at any restaurant anywhere. And to top it all off, there was this quiet voice in the back of my mind that whispered incessantly, “What if this ends up being longer than I thought? What if God asks me to stay in Canada forever? What if I don’t get to move back home to Kansas?”

Day after day these questions swirled around in my mind. To others, this may have seemed to be rooted in anxiety or irrational fear. Where were these questions even coming from? However, there was something that I hadn’t shared with anyone.

Just a dream?

Exactly one week before I moved to Abbotsford, I had a dream. In this dream, I was in the sanctuary of a small, familiar church. At the front of the room was a large piece of paper pinned to the wall where the congregation wrote hopes, dreams and desires.

The worship service concluded, and I made my way to the back of the room. Turning before I exited, I glanced at that large piece of paper to see where I had written, “Move back to Kansas.” I was taken aback as I realized my contribution had been emphatically crossed out by a thick, black marker, while the surrounding entries remained untouched. And then, I woke up.

I remember sitting up in bed in my childhood home in Kansas and wondering if it was just a dream or if God was trying to tell me something. Would this temporary move be more permanent than I thought? I quickly buried the dream in the furthest corner of my mind where I hopefully would forget it. I wasn’t successful.

That fall and early winter, I struggled with God on a regular basis over this matter. Why did these questions haunt me so? It was clear I wanted to go home more than anything. I could barely wait for my 10 months to end; why would God ask me to stay longer? I tried justifying to him why I couldn’t stay, why I was needed at home, why I wasn’t equipped for this. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed. But the whole time I kept my hands clamped over my ears, so afraid of what God had to say to me.

Ready to surrender

It was finally in January of 2019 that I gave in and surrendered. After two convicting sermons on obedience at a weekend conference and a sleepless night of tossing and turning, I knew I had to stop fighting it: God was calling me to stay. I talked to my boss, my pastor’s wife, and a few trusted friends, and they all agreed that it seemed that God was inviting me to stay on staff full-time at Multiply rather than return home at the end of my internship.

I sobbed and sobbed when the decision was final, but it was the kind of weeping that releases all tension, leaving nothing but peace and satisfaction. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was what the Lord had in store for me, even though I didn’t know why.

What was first a 10-month commitment turned into three years of life in Canada. Full disclosure, year two in Canada ended up being harder than the first. I walked through spiritual battles and mental health struggles, and then a world-wide pandemic was added to the mix. I did end up moving back to Kansas in the summer of 2021, and looking back, I know that God was at work, even though I couldn’t see it then.

Of course, there were some bright and beautiful spots amidst all the hardship, and God used both the ugly and the beautiful to prune and grow me. My trust in him has increased, having seen firsthand that he is with me even in the darkest of valleys. I have learned to distinguish his clear, loving voice from the confusing and accusing voice of the enemy.

Rather than waste my time in anxious fear about the future or about missing out on what God has for me, I am (slowly) learning to live in the present with open ears and an open heart. I am convinced that as I continue to spend time with Jesus and abide in his Word, the clearer his calling is, and that I will surely know it when I see it.

Proverbs 19:23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.”

Becky Spahr, a 2015 Tabor College graduate, is a graphic designer in Wichita, Kan. She has written and self-published a book, Keep Choosing Yes. She is a member of Ridgepoint Church.

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