Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:36-39 (CSB)
If you are overwhelmed by what you believe God is calling you to right now, by the way He seems to be stretching you and challenging you in this season, you’re not alone. I, too, have felt my shoulders break under the weight of what I know to be a calling from the Lord. Not just an expectation but a purpose. It can be too much at times, too hard, too demanding, too scary. Just too much.
Our callings can feel terrifying, overwhelming, unbearable.
Certainly, we will experience times when we can’t stop grinning and glowing, feeling God’s pleasure as we run the very race He’s given us. We will celebrate and cry buckets of happy tears and know the peace that comes with seeing Him work in our lives. But other times? That calling we were so excited to answer, that purpose we were so thrilled to fulfill? It will be so heavy we think it might just crush us this time.
It’s no accident that God called you, the weak or weary or unprepared or overwhelmed, to this thing. After all, Jesus Himself in His greatest mission and calling — the cross and the resurrection — was weak and weary, too. Yet He relied on the Father for strength, and He saw His calling through. Just as He was with Jesus, if God has called you to love your neighbor, to serve your family, to minister to your community (and He has), then He will be with you every step of the way, too — even the tentative steps, the shuffling steps, the can’t-take-another-step steps.
We are not alone, though our callings are as unique as we are. And though our callings might never be easy or comfortable, they will always be worth it. God has called us to dive in and no matter how many deep ends we face, He will be with us. He will be with us, and we can do this. He will be with you, and you can do this.
The idea of a calling can be hard to comprehend, but it’s not meant to be mysterious. Listening for and following God’s call doesn’t necessarily mean selling everything you own, abandoning everything you’ve known, and moving across the ocean or even across town. God is infinitely creative, and He’s made a unique plan for each of us.
But what we do know — and have in common — is God’s universal call for us to acknowledge His holiness as well as our own sin, to understand that we are incapable of paying the price required to be forgiven of that sin, and to believe that Jesus made Himself the sacrifice so we could once again be in fellowship with God. After all, the good news of Easter is that Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins, which was death, but He also overcame death and rose! The power of sin, and the penalty for it, had no hold on Him. He got out of the grave and invites us to one day do the same, if we will only believe. Indeed, He calls us to confess our sins and believe in His work on the cross and the resurrection, and once we do, to share the good news with those around us, and to seek Him and His will for our lives from now on.
What has the Lord been saying to you during Lent? What do you believe He is asking you to do in response?
Excerpt from Journey to the Cross: Forty Days to Prepare Your Heart for Easter by Mary Carver.
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