Listening for the Call of God – Br. David Vryhof

Exodus 3:1-12

Few of us experience God’s call as dramatically as Moses did, yet there are several elements to his story that may help us discern how God may be calling us.  I’d like to mention four things worth noting in this story:

  1. God initiates the call. Many of us experience prayer as a dialogue which we initiate.  We set aside time and go to a specific place and begin the dialogue.  We wait to see if God will respond, if God will answer our prayers.  But in fact it is always God who initiates the dialogue.  It is God who prompts us to seek him; it is God who awakens our hearts to desire to know and do God’s will.  So prayer is actually a conversation that God initiates, and therefore our primary posture in prayer is to be one of attentive listening.Rather than asking ourselves how and when we’re going to find the time to pray today, we might better ask ourselves how and when God is going to speak to us today – will it be in a quiet moment, through a conversation with a friend, in the words of Scripture or the liturgy, through the wonders of the natural world?  Our role is to be attentive, to be watching and listening throughout the day for God’s presence and activity.  Without this kind of attentiveness, we might miss the burning bush altogether.
  2. God’s call always involves service to others. It always leads us beyond ourselves and our own needs and desires.  It is never solely for us, but always has some benefit for other people.  There is no genuine call from God that does not include this dimension.  God’s call always leads us into community and into service for others.  Even a call to live as a hermit is ultimately not for our own benefit; it is for the benefit of the Church and the world that one gives oneself wholly to prayer.  Moses is called to speak and act for the benefit of God’s people who are in bondage; responding to this call will bring him personal benefit and fulfillment, perhaps, but that is not its primary focus.
  3. The call of God may seem daunting to us. Moses is not alone in his awareness of his inadequacies.  Most of us realize that we cannot be or do what God is asking us to be or do without God’s help and strength at work within us.  Awareness of our own weakness is a good and necessary thing, because it forces us to rely on God rather than on our own talents and strengths.  We should always embrace our weaknesses and see the as the gifts that they are.  Awareness of our limitations is, as Father Benson taught us, a necessary condition for those who wish to be instruments of blessing in the world, for only then can “God’s strength {be} made perfect in our weakness.”
  4. The call of God is always accompanied by the promise of God. God’s answer to our protests of inadequacy and weakness is always the same: “I will be with you.” God reminds us that the work belongs to him and not to us.  God invites us to participate in the work by offering ourselves as instruments to be used for the accomplishment of God’s purposes in the world.  God never asks us to do something for which he will not equip us.  With every call there comes a promise: I will be with you.  I will do this work in you and through you.  Abide in me.

None of us is without a call.  God’s call to each of us is continuous and ongoing.  Be attentive to what it is that God is asking you to be or to do today.  And trust that your weakness presents no obstacle to God.  Do what you can. God will accomplish the rest.

© 2009

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  1. Suzanne Benson a new widow on July 8, 2014 at 14:53

    I have been trying to listen and listen to what God is trying to tell me in my recent widowhood. He knows that I have suffered and I have prayed for his hope in me. Bless your recent words. Suzanne

  2. Ruth West on July 8, 2014 at 09:23

    Brother in Christ, thank you for these helpful words which shall guide me today. May my ears be attuned to Him.

  3. Kathryn on June 3, 2013 at 09:26

    Thank you for the words you share, and for the depths of spirit that those words reveal. There have been too many times in the past year that I have needed a light in what has felt like a very dark world… your words and the words of your Brothers have lifted my heart…

  4. DLa Rue on June 2, 2013 at 10:13

    Ouch. No hiding place down here, hunh?

  5. judy on June 2, 2013 at 08:24

    I have a friend who is recovering from an heart attack and who is being mentally challenged by his awareness of weakness. This is just what he needs to hear. Thank you for this wonderful awareness of how our weakness can be used to the benefit of God.

  6. Laura Krustchinsky on February 20, 2013 at 14:48

    Great new perspective on prayer for me. Food for thought. I will process this and see what changes in my prayer life. Thanks for your wisdom and sharing it with others.

  7. Melanie Zybala on February 20, 2013 at 13:54

    Very well-written, and extremely helpful. Despie meditating, praying for years,
    I’ve nearly always thought that I was “the one” initiating prayer. Now MaryBaker Eddy’s statement makes even more sense:”The communication is aways
    from God to man.” With thanks.

  8. Lynn Harrington on November 6, 2012 at 09:54

    Thank you for your wise words.

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