Jonathan D. Miller

What is a God calling? Is it a mysterious voice on the phone? “Hello, this is God calling. I have something for you to do.” I don’t think that’s how God normally works. If God called on the phone, would anyone take God seriously? I wouldn’t!

I experienced God’s calling not too long ago. The frigid November night chilled my room, and our wood-burning furnace seemed to be warming nothing but itself. As I pulled my blankets tighter around me, my thoughts focused on Every Young Man’s Battle, a book about overcoming sexual addictions. At the end of the book are testimonies about teenagers who studied the book together and successfully broke their sexual addictions. Suddenly, my thoughts formed into an idea: What if a group like this existed at my church? As soon as the idea popped into my head, I sensed God’s calling. It wasn’t an audible voice but a feeling deep within my gut. I shivered, not because of the cold but because I knew that God wanted me to start and to lead the group.

Immediately, my mind went into defense mode. In desperation I began to list my disqualifications: “I’m too shy.” “I’m too young.” “I’m not smart enough.” “I wouldn’t know what to do.” I tried to convince God that my youth director or one of my pastors would do a much better job, but the feeling in my soul told me God thought otherwise. I lay under the blankets completely speechless. I didn’t believe I could lead this group; but obviously God did, so I gave in to God’s calling.

When God commanded Moses to rescue the Israelites from slavery, Moses made excuses: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” “Suppose they do not believe me or listen to me.” “I have never been eloquent.” “Please send someone else.” (Read the whole story in Exodus 3:1–4:17.) Moses’ excuses were almost identical to mine. But reassured of God’s wisdom and control, Moses went on to save an entire nation and to become one of the most famous prophets of all time—and I went on to lead the group.

Not one person walked away from the group without being changed. God had made it a success. But my calling had only begun. Over time, I have realized that God was calling me not only to lead one group of teens but also to lead teens fulltime as a youth minister. Sometimes I don’t believe I’ll be able to do it; but I know that God believes I can, and that’s enough for me.

When God calls you to do something, remember this simple fact: Qualifications don’t matter to God. If God calls you, then nothing can stop you—except maybe your own excuses.


Practice keeping a “discernment” journal. Write down some things you think God might be calling you to do. Pray about each one. Continue to journal and to pray about these things. From time to time, read through your previous journal entries. Do you see a particular theme developing? Is there a gentle nudge that won’t go away? Then God may be calling. And if, like me, you start to make excuses, remember that nothing is impossible with God.

Jonathan D. Miller , 17, a Teen Advisory Board member from McClelland, Iowa, is a second degree black belt in Taekwondo but would rather play his electric guitar all day than take on Chuck Norris.

—from devozine® (November/December 2011). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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