I grew up hearing Bible stories about Eli and Samuel. My mother would read them to me. “Saaamuellll, Saammmuelll, Saaaaaaamuuuellll” she would read. And I would hear how Samuel thought Eli was calling him, but Eli realized it must be the Lord. Eli told Samuel the next time he heard his name called to answer, “Yes, Lord, here I am”. I have never heard God audibly, but I have heard Him many times and in many ways – through my prayers, in His word, thru His people, by His creation, in my children, and through my wife. All rich and wonderful in their own unique way.
I did not know this until some time after I started, but God was the one who called me into law enforcement. I can believe nothing else because I cannot tell you how often I wanted to quit early on, until I heard His voice. Maybe a little like Esther, a whole career “for such a time as this”, except I have had thousands of “those times such as this” where I believe God had me in the very place where He wanted me, for His purpose in a person’s life. Rarely do I know ahead of time, and it is by His wonderful grace He shares these times during or after the fact. Not all of my job is this way, in fact very little seems to be, but when I surrendered to His calling I did not argue anymore. I would prefer not to participate in most of it, but I know that God uses and redeems it all.
If you had asked me on 7-21-97, my first day in the Anchorage, Alaska police academy with 27 other new police officers, about where I would be or what I might be doing in 20 years I am sure my answer would have been terribly boring. “Working here, in Anchorage, thinking about retirement” might have been what you heard from me. If you had told me, “I believe you will move to Vancouver, Washington and fall in love with New Heights Church, and sense a growing desire to go serve in Slovakia, then go to Slovakia and fall in love with the people, and be eating breakfast with my whole family, among brothers and sisters in Christ, among my very best friends and among new friends – and have my wife stand and honor me for 20 years of service,” wellllll, I would ask you what you had been drinking, and how much.
Yet, here I am, and all of that happened!! Surrendering to my second call – signing up for Serving Slovakia – has literally changed my life. So much love, so much life, so much growing, and so much more. Maybe you have felt the tug on your heart to go and serve? It may not be Slovakia, but whatever it is, I believe if you surrender He will fill you with His joy, the joy that transcends all of the challenges we face in a fallen and broken world that so desperately needs a Living Savior…..one who calls us by name.
Thank you for your continued prayers!