Jane Korvemaker ponders how the call of the Good Shepherd can be unexpected, but God is always worthy of our trust.
YOU have been called. You, personally, by the Good Shepherd, who has called you by name (John 10:3). He is calling you to love and serve him in many different ways. We are called to love and serve our families; this seems a given. But we cannot limit where the Spirit is leading us by imposing restrictions on where we’re being called to love and serve God. We can recall that the Good Samaritan parable (Luke 10:29-37) challenges us to think beyond our normal expectations, lest we become like the priest or Levite in the story, consumed with believing we know where God is calling us and how to respond.
Sometimes we have to question ourselves when we stop to listen to God’s call. Though it isn’t always the way we expect it to be, no matter where God calls us we’re asked to trust that God knows all that He has entrusted to us already. He will not be faithless to us in these things.
I’ve always loved studying theology. I attained my Bachelor in Theology over fifteen years ago and continued to be thoroughly fed in being immersed in studying about God. I tried to attain a Masters in Pastoral Theology, but I found myself expecting a child several months earlier than my husband and I thought it would take. When my child was born five weeks early, I couldn’t finish my classes or the degree. I was greatly saddened to leave my studies unfinished, but embraced my life and immersed myself into it as best as I could, welcoming and nourishing the new life of our family. I trusted that God would not leave me unsatisfied in my other desires, but that in this moment I was being called to slow down my life.
Fast forward years later and our family had come to a point of intense struggle, frustration, and much confusion. Unknown to me at the time, members in our family had undiagnosed Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and General Anxiety Disorder. In the midst of this major and daily struggle, I heard a call to pursue theology again.
While it’s been a desire of my heart for many years, pursuing theology classes amidst what felt like chaos in our family life seemed antithetical. Yet it was not so much that I sought it out as when I stopped and prayed while looking at this option before me that doors opened wide. When I started asking questions it was as if a path had been blazed through the wilderness for me.
I had to question myself. It looked like folly – home life was like chaos and there seemed little that would change at the time; adding in academics surely would only lead to more pain and suffering (well, there’s truth there, but in a different way; more like an ‘oh crap it’s due this week??’ type of pain). But I couldn’t look at the clear pathway paved in the chaotic wilderness of my life and honestly tell myself that God wasn’t calling me down that road. Was I to turn my back on that path and say, ‘No, surely God would want me to turn all my attention to my family and to attending to our needs, not to pursue something of interest to me, even if it seems as though doors have been opened this way’?
It’s only been this year as I’ve pondered this journey that I found myself asking, ‘but who paved that path for me? I didn’t make it. Who else but God could have made something clear in that wilderness?’ I have to trust that God has my back when He calls me somewhere. That means I have to trust that God knows my family’s needs better than I do!
I can think of no better examples than the saints, especially of Perpetua and Felicity. Both were mothers, Perpetua had a baby and Felicity was pregnant when they chose to follow Christ – they were catechumens, being instructed in the faith to be baptized. It was dangerous; they were caught and had chances to recant their faith and go back to their families, to their lives. Surely God would not call mothers to leave their children, right? Why did they commit to following this pathway?
"The sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. ... I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:3-4, 11)
They heard the Shepherd calling their name, and they followed him because they know his voice. My story is not as drastic as saints Perpetua and Felicity, but they model for me an exceptional trust. They believed that the Shepherd who calls them will take care of all he has entrusted to them and that he loves them and asks them to be faithful to his call.
To what is the Good Shepherd calling you?
Copyright 2021 Jane Korvemaker
Images: Canva Pro; "Le Bon Pasteur" by Philippe de Champaigne (1883), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; "Mary with the Child, St. Felicity of Carthage, and St. Perpetua," Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
About the Author
Jane Korvemaker loves food, family, wine, and God (perhaps not in that order). She holds a Certificate in Culinary Arts, which pairs perfectly with her Bachelor in Theology. A former Coordinator of Youth Ministry, she writes from the beautiful and cold province of Saskatchewan, Canada. She works from home and takes care of her three very hard-working children. Jane regularly blogs at AJK2.ca.