Can I just say….the calling God has placed on your life may lead you down a path full of hard spaces? One may think, Because its His calling, it should be easily penetrable; I shall sail along the perfect course with very little inconvenience and resistance. Most times, this does not even closely resemble the truth of reality.
On the contrary, your calling may take you down a path filled to capacity with rocks, and even the ground underneath the rocks may itself be hard and unrelenting. Difficult for some to grasp mentally, but there, in those hard spaces, you may be precisely in the center of God’s will for your life.Of course, you could grumble and complain that you’re caught between some rocks and a hard place. Now it won’t change His will, but it may help others picture the intensity of your struggle in the call. It won’t hasten the progression through the struggle, but it will negate your testimony to His great power in the interim of the struggle.
I’m reminded how Paul encouraged young Timothy to “kindle afresh” the gift of God in him (2 Tim. 1:6). God had embedded a gift in Timothy that was carefully nurtured by his mother and grandmother. Paul reminded him that the gift was to be exercised with great boldness! He emphasized that God had not given Timothy [nor believers today] the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a disciplined mind (v. 7).
Here’s the awesome encouragement for us as those who endeavor to walk firmly rooted in God’s calling for our life: though we may have to suffer in some hard spaces as we fulfill our calling in Christ Jesus, God is able to guard what we have entrusted to Him until that Day of our Lord’s return (v. 12). In other words, we can know that our very souls, as entrusted to God, He safely keeps until our Lord returns. This is true regardless of the hardships. Paul was convinced, and so we should be convinced.
The apostle traveled upon rough terrain; he entered his share of hard spaces: persecuted, shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned. All for the sake of God’s calling upon his life.
Suffering. Opposition. Persecution. Rejection. Pain. All hard spaces. True.
But we must not be ashamed of the gospel! We must walk in our area of gifting, be steadfast in our calling, and take every opportunity to present Christ as Redeemer and Lord. We have been called to a holy calling, and it was according to God’s purpose and grace that He called us (v. 9). Because of Paul’s calling, he had to suffer (v. 12). Because of our calling, we may have to suffer, too.
Drawing closer to the Lord gives us power to be unashamed in the hard spaces.