Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Is The Sweetest Name I Know"1 (Lyrics)
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (NIV)
When I was fourteen years old, a book fell off a shelf that I was dusting, hit me on the head, and landed face up, open on the exact date of my birthday. It was a birthday book, the kind with various words of inspiration or advice. The words that leaped from that page buried themselves in my heart: "The work of the world is done by few. God asks that a part be done by you." A giant shiver ran over my entire body, and I stood transfixed, because I knew, even at that early age, that it was God speaking to me.
I had no idea what His plans were for me, but I immediately went about helping Him out. I shared this exciting experience with a few special people to see what they might say. I talked with my minister, and his sage advice was to study to become a deaconess in my church. How boring that sounded to an eager fourteen-year-old! So I relegated his words to the trash can. My father informed me that he didn't like listening to the voices of women ministers, so his words joined those of my minister.
Shortly after that, I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour. The minister was speaking from Isaiah 6 and right then and there I made a commitment of my life to be a missionary teacher, since teaching had been my goal for as long as I could remember. "Here am I. Send me." (Isaiah 6:8b NIV)
Then I waited for God to speak again, and I believe He did when I began to read a book called Oil for the Lamps of China. It told of the calling of Hudson Taylor to become a missionary in China. It clearly outlined the many obstacles he faced, but more importantly, it just as clearly demonstrated God's faithfulness in overcoming them.
I saw the book as God's definite confirmation of my commitment, so I waited like faithful Abraham waited for his Isaac. Over and over again, I thought that I saw the door opening, only to see it slam shut. But I did not give up, because I believed God.
On February 5th, 1995, I received a word of knowledge during a church service in Lakeland, Florida: "God is faithful. He would not call you to something, then not allow you to do it." I was 50 years old.
On April 13th, 1995, this message was confirmed by a call from a church in South Korea. I know that it wasn't China, but it was close enough. And God worked out every step of the way without one bit of help from me.
So it was that I found myself going with a friend to the "ends of the earth" to be a missionary teacher. And now I believe that He has called me to do it all over again, and with the same friend.
My prayer is that, when you hear the Lord speak to you, your answer will always be, "Here am I. Send me."
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us always to be listening for Your voice. Grant us the strength and grace to obey, since nothing is impossible with You. Amen.