God Calling?

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One Sunday morning in high school, I visited a neighboring church with a friend. And even though it was A REALLY LONG TIME AGO, I remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember it because it was the first time I heard Christianity and predestination pitched in a way that I thought, “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that at all.”

As the youth pastor wrapped up his Sunday School lesson, he compared God calling us to a telephone ringing. He went on to say that if our phone was ringing, we should pick it up. Because we never knew if and when our phone was going to stop ringing.

I’m all for people answering when God is calling them.

But I can’t imagine anyone picking up the phone and saying, “God…God… are you there God?” Only to be greeted with silence, because God has conveniently moved on to someone else.

What do you think? Can you make sense of this analogy?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Luckily God never stops calling and his patience is eternal. Even if we choose not to pick up he will never cease to pursue us.

  • And luckily God is a God of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, e.t.c chances…:)

  • Not sure if I want to try to decipher the whole meaning behind this youth pastor's message, but it sounds like a good intentioned analogy gone awry.

    I'm all for carpe diem-ing (?) a "Call of God", but I also don't believe God would allow a willing heart to go unused.
    My recent post MMH5 – Five Things New with GodlySheep

  • Great analogy. I just don’t think God is that choosey. I think he has called us to always do our best and to go for it. However, I do get bugged when people wait so long for God to call them that they miss the opportunity God had laid out for them already. I think he gives us the ability to make wise choices and to go after things on our own… I’m a simpleton when it comes to free-will:)

  • I remember those sermons. I think it was in reference to Jesus' words in John 6:44 — where He talks about no one coming to Him unless God calls them.

    The sermons I used to hear were fraught with, "If you hear the Spirit calling, come now! One day it will be too late!"

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  • Not liking that analogy. But then again I struggle with predestination. I tend to fall in the middle, but at the same time I realize it isn't close handed thing (though I've heard some teach like it is).

    My recent post Being Blind

  • Not liking that analogy. But then again I struggle with predestination. I tend to fall in the middle, but at the same time I realize it isn't close handed thing (though I've heard some teach like it is).

    My recent post Being Blind

  • Thankfully your readers are pleasant and courteous. I can think of several sites where a question like this would be like opening a can of really ugly worms…

    This is a tough one. I, like a few of the comments above, fall somewhere in the middle on this one. I was raised to understand the free will of all humans to choose God or to reject Him. I also believe that God draws all "men" to Himself – that's Him calling. We all get the call, the invitation. Does it have an expiration date? I'm not sure. Probably. Only God would know what that date is. I wouldn't want to chance missing that one.

    The topic of predestination (again, as I understand it) lands me in the camp of God knowing WHO is going to accept His call/invitation (because He is all-knowing) is different from CAUSING it to happen. God chooses everyone, but not everyone chooses Him back.

    My recent post Comfort Isn’t Always #1

    • Yes, so thankful for a pleasant and courteous community here. I woke about this morning worrying that I might have unleashed a beast. I grew up in a Presbyterian church and so 9 times out of 10 I am comfortable with the way predestination is preached. But every once in awhile someone will explain it in a way that I'm like, "whoo buddy, I don't think that sounds like God."

      • I also grew up in a Presbyterian church. I think one of the biggest problems we have is that in our languages most words have more than one meaning, so determining the proper meaning depends on the context of what one is reading. I realized this a number of years ago when I began to find out that what I was reading in the Bible was not what I had heard others say it was. I decided that I was going to take the two things I knew for sure–God is love and love never fails–and use them as my context. Suddenly, predestination took on a new meaning: God predestinated that anyone who sought Him and His kingdom would become like Jesus–God knows the power of His absolute love and of His knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Eventually, if Isaiah 25:6-8 is real (and I believe it is), everyone will find God's absolute love because of what Christ accomplished through his death and resurrection.
        My recent post #35 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: TRUTH

  • Shannon Lindsay

    I agree. If anyone calls out to God to become a believer, God is definitely there to answer the call…no matter how long it takes. We had an interesting question come up in our Sunday School class recently. We're studying the book of John and in Chapter 17 when Jesus prays for 3 things – He prays for Himself, He prays for His Disciples and then He prays for All Believers. The question was was why didn't He pray for everyone to become believers? It brought us to the concept of predestination but only because He already knew who would NOT ever become a believer. Pretty deep but any thoughts?

    • Very deep. That's interesting. I'm going to go reread it…

    • Shannon, read the end of John 17:21 (NASB)–Jesus said, "…that they may also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." Jesus never ever limited who would believe. Isaiah 25:6-8 is quite clear–God is preparing a feast for all peoples and will wipe away the tears from all faces. God's love is absolute and is greater than all the deception and evil in the world. His love never fails.
      My recent post #35 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: TRUTH

  • well…since i hold firmly to the Wesleyan understanding of salvation, i in no way abide with the concept of predestination. Christ died for all…His grace is free for all and in all. I wholeheartedly believe that the Holy Spirit "pursues" every non-believer up until the moment of death.

  • what an awful thought… to think that we would serve a god who would "tease" us w/a phone ringing, but then greet us with silence… i just don't think that is the God i love… He is full of loving kindness and grace and mercy… ____but it is a powerful analogy… great post!