nepalOur friend Calvin was back for a visit after following God’s call to serve in Nepal.  He’ll be going back for another two years.

What is so striking to me about Calvin is not particularly his love for the poor and disenfranchised, nor his work in Nepal, but his courage to go where God called him.  In his case, Nepal.

Surely to leave friends, family, and the comfort of America in order to serve the poor in a  strange third-world country, where your financial is support is whatever you could raise back home beforehand, takes much courage and conviction.  It takes obedience and self-surrender.  It takes love in action, both for God and neighbor.

God called and is calling Calvin to Nepal.

The question that is haunting me is whether I have enough courage, conviction, obedience, self-surrender, and love to follow God where He calls me.  Do I?  And do I have a sense of where God is calling me?

The  majority of us will not be called overseas.  Our calls may seem less dramatic, or maybe even less important.  It is helpful for me if I remember that the essence of God’s call on all of our lives is to love Him and others.  It is the HOW that changes from person to person, and community to community.

Calvin’s HOW at this point in his life was to go to Nepal.  That’s how God concretely and specifically is working out His call upon Calvin to love Him and others.

But what about me?

At times I wish that I could leave everything here in America behind and immerse myself in a strange and hard culture without the material comforts I so cherish, serving God in seemingly more tangible and real ways.  This fantasy suggests that maybe I wouldn’t have to battle complacency so hard.  That maybe I would really better understand what it means to live, and that it would come more naturally due to the circumstances of such a life.

But my heart tells me those fantasies, at least for me, are in part a desire to escape the hard realities of being a disciple of Christ in America.  They are searching for an easier road of discipleship, one void of the common American pitfalls.

But God isn’t calling me to escape, as my fantasy would have it.

It seems to me that God is calling me to the hard, seemingly impossible, battles facing American disciples of Jesus.  The battles of sorting out what life is really about and then spending our time, energy, and resources accordingly.  The battles of forcing out complacency and welcoming in deep life in its stead. 

These battles are overwhelming.  And more often than not, it seems I lose…both in my own life and in the lives of those around me.

Yet if God is calling me to this, then it will have to be by His grace and power that any head way is made anyway.  The HOW God seems to see fit for me for now are apparently the normal things like The Gathering, our garden, my job, my hopeful pursuit of going back to school, my friends and family, my choice of leisure activities…

My HOW is a frustrating how.  It means I can’t indulge my fantasy and escape.  My HOW is composed of the details of American life and the important communities of which I am a part.

It doesn’t seem very exciting.  Or adventurous.

But if God is working here…in my HOW…then nothing could be more thrilling.

My HOW will take much courage and conviction.  It will take obedience and self-surrender.  It will take love in action, both for God and neighbor.

The question still lingers: Do I have the courage to step deeper into my God-given HOW?