The ocean rushing towards the shore

The Dull Roar of God’s Call

I love the sound of the ocean, as it beats tirelessly against the shore.

I love its crisp breeze, tinged with salt.

I love how it pulls back the curtains of sand to reveal the earth.

But above all these things, I love how it fades into your mind until you barely notice it, softly serenading you – all the while never truly lowering its tone.

Oh, how we should love God more.

Psalm 95:1–5

[1] Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
[2] Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
[3] For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
[4] In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
[5] The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land. (ESV)

In Psalm 95, the psalmist begs for us to turn our worship to God as he describes the majesty of The Creator. The same Creator that took the time to knit you and I together in our mothers’ wombs also created the mountain ranges that leave us breathless and the mysterious depths of the sea. These verses always leave me in awe of how great God is and how profoundly small I am.

As someone who lives in Colorado, I love the ocean… from a distance. As I mentioned above, I love how the longer you listen to the ocean the less you really hear it. I see a parallel in the mountains of Colorado in that the longer I live here, the less I notice the grandeur of the Rockies. When I first arrived several years ago it was a distinct pleasure to go outside just to look at the mountains, and now it’s simply a passing fancy that I note to my wife as we drive to church.

“Oh look how clear the mountains are today, they sure look nice.”

How often do we find ourselves treating God the same way? Maybe we remember a time when we could see the course, and feel God directing us. Maybe we remember a time where God’s direction pointed at something we weren’t comfortable with, so we took a “short-cut” to try and avoid something that might be difficult. Of course God’s direction didn’t change, but neither did our heart! Over time the call became like background noise – just waves breaking on the beach of our mind. We never stopped believing God was in control, but we tuned out His voice.

In my own life I see this. In high school I attended a “Spiritual Boot Camp” in Tulsa, OK. While at the event I felt the call to ministry, softly at first, but more pronounced by the end. When commitment time came, I stopped short, telling myself that God certainly didn’t want me to be a pastor or missionary. I must be thinking too high of myself. I ended up committing to “serving God in some non-pastoral capacity”. I told myself the desire to commit to something more was just peer-pressure or vanity.

The ocean grew quieter

The summer before my freshman year of college, I attended a National Collegiate Week where we heard from Dr. David Platt about how God didn’t NEED us to accomplish His will, but that in His grace He called us to Himself to do His work. I felt convicted again, and for a time I heard God calling again. I wanted to travel, so I told myself, God must want me to be a missionary. When the time came for rubber to meet the road I had become addicted to pornography. This was one of the lowest points in my walk with God. Surely God has no desire to be served by someone as disgusting as me. I decided to forget about missions.

The ocean grew quieter

My first semester of college was spent at Oklahoma Baptist University, where I met Pastor Gary. I heard God’s call again, so I went to Gary one Sunday to talk to him about the possibility of being called to the mission field. At the time, I was crushed by his advice, and ultimately chose not to enter missions because of it, though looking back it was some of the best advice I ever received. “If you can do anything other than missions and be happy, do that instead”, he said. So I did.

The ocean grew quieter

It was at OBU that I met my future wife. God used her to bring me out of the filth of pornography and back to chasing after Him. Eventually God would lead us to Colorado to finish her master’s degree and to place us in a local church. Through really no ambition of my own, I became the AWANA Commander of our church. Later I would become a Sunday School teacher in the children’s department and a deacon. But what was that noise..?

in 2016, our pastors went to a conference called “Together for the Gospel”. Thankfully the conference was live-streamed, so I was able to watch several of the talks and really soak in the Word. I decided that I would attend the next one, in 2018.

Last week I made the trip to Louisville Kentucky for T4G18. It was an amazing week where I received enough theological books to last me a year. I heard God calling again. In all my running from God’s call, I never really spent the time to learn what He wanted from me, and now I’m left prayerfully seeking His direction. It’s absolutely terrifying to me that I could be called into full-time ministry of some kind, though deep down I think that’s what I long for.

I say all this not to bore you with my life story, but to encourage you to chase after God’s will for your life. Don’t wait, don’t run, don’t try to figure out something better. In fact, as beautiful as Psalm 95’s description of our Creator is, it ends on somewhat of a sour note. After all the Children of Israel had been through and seen, when they were in the desert, they still questioned God’s goodness. Don’t be like them, don’t test God by taking a detour.

When you hear God calling, run to Him.