The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
By: John Newton, 1725-1807
Listen then read. This version is Chris Tomlin as found on Music inspired by the Motion Picture Amazing Grace.
I think I first heard this stanza as the closing reflection of this version by Chris Tomlin featuring the new refrain he wrote for the movie. There is this incredible, grand sweeping idea that all we know in this existence as constants, the earth in its apparent solidity, the sun in its faithful radiance, will change; but this one thing will not, my relationship to God. It is difficult to wrap my mind around this, so expansive are the implications of this truth.
Reading these words initially had the impact of making me feel very small, until the sweeping realization of the last portion sinks in. I go from feeling very insignificant, to very significant. I think this is especially true since I am writing on a day when I just experienced a solar eclipse. God, who made all the wonders of earth, moon, stars and sun, called me. He called me to be His, first made by Him then remade by Him, and I simply responded with praise.
This calling is not just reserved for those who are in vocational ministry, by no means. When God calls us from darkness to light [I Peter 2:9], He does so on purpose and with purpose. Our lives can seem small and ineffective at times, but they are not. God has called us “here below” and there is a purpose in that calling beyond just being His. It beckons us forward on a great journey with our Lord, though some are afraid to go. There is something He wants us to do and it flows out of our calling.
I think William Wilberforce knew this. A British Parliamentarian, it was not long after he surrendered to the call of Christ that he became a strong voice for the abolition movement in England. The movie Amazing Grace chronicles his struggle against the slave trade, one that dominated about 20 years of his life, and ended with the passing of The Slave Trade Act in 1807.
He knew that it was imperative that he act, not simply to have faith. Do you know what God has called you to do? God has called you to be His, but what flows out of that being for you? Maybe you already know the answer to that question. Great! But are you at it? If so, awesome! If not, why not? If you can not say with confidence what God has called you to do, take a few minutes right now and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if there is anything that He is calling you to do. But a quick word before you do…
Before you are tempted to spiritualize this question beyond all hope of recognition, let’s keep it real. The Latin word meaning to call is vocare, from which we derive the word vocation. God has called you to do something, and a big part of that may very well be your vocation and/or the things your vocation positions you to do. Do not dismiss the possibility that you may be doing part of, if not even more of what God has called you to do. Ok, now take a couple minutes. Seriously, just ask Him. You may be surprised by what you hear.
Once you have determined that and surrendered to it, two very different but deliberate actions, I want to encourage you to press into it with all you are. Do not relent when things get difficult. Press on until one of three things happen.
- You accomplish it.
- Jesus calls you to Heaven.
- The earth dissolves like snow [which I am pretty sure will not happen before 2.]
Jesus, thank You for the confidence that even if the earth dissolves and the sun darkens You will care for me. I can rest in and move around in that confidence to do what You have called me to do. May You find me faithfully working until it is fully accomplished, or You call me home. In Jesus name. Amen.
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