Twelve-year-old Jesus tried to take it all in—the buzz of foreign languages, the jostling crowd, the smell of confined animals awaiting their fate in the Temple. But nothing could prepare Him for that moment—the instant the Passover lamb was killed. Suddenly His identity and mission were crystal clear—He was the Lamb.
I’m pretty sure none of us can completely understand that exact experience, but sometimes we do have a moment kind of like that, when something clicks and we understand a little more clearly what God is calling us to. Sometimes it’s the mission field or ministry; sometimes it’s a specific career or even a hobby in which you know your interests and personality have all been carefully packed into you so that God can be glorified just by being who He created you to be. These moments are not loaded down with every detail of the journey—just enough conviction and confirmation to keep you focused and seeking God as you step out in faith in that direction.
But often we doubt these moments. Shouldn’t the people around us be more supportive? Aren’t things supposed to just “fall into place”? Why would God give us a calling but not give us what we need to pursue it? What is with all the waiting? Maybe we heard Him wrong.
What do you think this experience was like for Jesus? At 12, He understood who He was and His calling to save the world. At 30, He began His ministry that would lead to His ultimate calling of self-sacrifice. If you do the math, Jesus had to wait 18 years after that “calling moment” until that one day He finally heard the familiar voice of His Father say, “It’s time.”
Of course, those three years of public ministry were certainly worth the wait! He packed more into three years than any of the world’s greatest evangelists could fit into their lifetimes. But what about those 18 years of waiting in obscurity? Were they really necessary? At 26, did Jesus start getting impatient? Did He wonder if He had heard God right?
I don’t know if Jesus struggled with those kinds of thoughts, but the impression I get from the Gospels, and from a book called Desire of Ages, is that Jesus held on to His calling by faith and trusted in His Father’s timing. He used those 18 “boring” years to really get to know His Father’s voice, and to show what God was like in every-day life—faithfully serving and loving His family and community, even when He was deeply misunderstood. In this way, Jesus actually was already fulfilling His mission even before anyone outside of Nazareth knew His name.
Maybe this whole “calling” thing is a very frustrating part of your life right now. Maybe you are still waiting for that “moment.” Wherever you are in the waiting-to-be-all-that-God-made-you-to-be, you can trust God’s timing. First, because He knows the whole story, and second, because He gets it—Jesus knows exactly what it feels like. He can help you stay faithful in the “boring years” until that day when He finally says, “It’s time.”
*About twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele, and sent on March 16, 2015.