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A call is a summons or an invitation; its object determines which it is. God never overrides free will (Gen 3). We’re often anxious about missing God’s call, but this is unlikely. A call is always dependent on someone listening and responding. We’re familiar with the phrase, ‘There’s none so deaf as those who do not wish to hear’, an idiom taken from Scripture (Jer. 5:21–31). We are often anxious, both not to miss a call, but also about the object of that call; will it appeal to us or not?

A call is not something that needs to determine the shape of our whole life. Indeed, we may be summoned by God in different ways and at different times during our life. Having served in Youth for Christ and the Evangelical Alliance (UK) for the first part of my adult life, I was then called to learn (with much reluctance, frustration and clumsiness) to be the primary carer for my first wife. After she died, I applied for 64 jobs unsuccessfully before I heard the faint but persistent request that I pursue an anchorite’s life of prayer, largely to withdraw from society and lead a prayer-oriented, ascetic life. 

I have retained my prayer rhythms, but life is far more active and engaging in this season. Learning to listen to God’s call is a must for us all. A call is not defined by outcomes, nor does it require any recognition. All it requires, as Isaiah demonstrates, is obedience.

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.