Changed call or wrong understanding?

Not sure if this falls into this category.

first to state upfront, I know that God’s character doesnt change, remaining consistent in who He is, as well as His sovereignty, omniscience and goodness in how He runs His creation.

So, the question: would God call someone to “official” ministry that leads that believer to spend many years to study and learn (even up to graduate levels) to prepare to go out, but in the course of this, has caused or allow mental illness, such as PTSD, and other personal sufferings to come about which now prevents that person from being able to go out?
Would God call someone to ministry then cancel or change His decision/call, disqualifying them from being able to serve in this such means? Would it be more correct to think instead, that the believer was wrong and misinterpreted a call to official ministry and so is now left with the results of their faulty thinking and decisions? The same question could apply to physical illness or injury, would God call a person to then later allow circumstances to prevent them from being able to serve in the way He called or were they wrong to think that way? How would be the best way to understand these type situations?
Apologies for dumb questions and hope this makes sense.

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@Zarae Great question :slight_smile: I think the idea of God’s call can be misleading. Making wise decisions requires both knowing God and knowing ourselves. Sometimes we change (physical illness or mental illness) and therefore our direction changes. God has called all of us to seek to serve Him. So if someone spent a few years training to serve God and then fell ill, I would not say those years were wasted. Circumstances simply changed.

Tim Keller has a great video (below) on God’s will. He explains that God does not generally tell us what He wants us to do in specific terms, but rather guides us through the circumstances of our life as we submit to Him. The idea that we each have a specific calling that we could miss is, in my opinion, not Biblical. God calls us each to serve Him as we are able given our circumstances in each stage of life. There are a few people in Scripture God calls to specific tasks, but I do not think that is generally the case…

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Hi Zarae,

These are not dumb questions. It goes to the heart of trying to make sense of things that don’t seem to add up. Someone who is concerned with the welfare of a friend.

Because we know God is sovereign and in control of everything that takes place, we know He is able to override any obstacle and condition should He choose to do so. Is God already displaying His glory through the trials, the sufferings and the appearance of defeat in His child? Our Savior appeared completely defeated in His unfair trial, death on a criminal’s cross and body in the grave. Yet these were the very things that God used to display His victorious power and “bring many sons to glory.” Hebrews 2.10.

Is God making this person more in tune and able to empathize with those who have also experienced and are experiencing these same struggles and therein lies the ministry? Even if it is just one person? We know that our High Priest is “able to sympathize with our weaknesses” and chose to suffer for us, and still weeps with those who weep, and because of this He is able to identify and “is not ashamed to call us His brothers.” Hebrews 4.15 and 2.10,11.

Is God about the business of making your friend more like Himself?

Grace and peace to you,
Mary Beth

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This is no dumb question. In fact, it is quite a difficult question.
I think the first thing to address is this person’s calling. I have served on several discernment committees for person’s wanting to go into ministry, who have felt called. The purpose of the committee was to challenge that individual by asking tough questions that would make that person think deeply about his response. The committee was not just a one-night-stand. It lasted over a period of 6 weeks or so. Many times, after the discernment process was over, the person felt more sure of his calling. But other times, the person realized it was more of a personal desire than a calling. The point I’m making is that it is essential for the individual to seek confirmation of what he/she perceives as calling. It can come through the mentorship of others, through a particular passage in Scripture, or in many recognizable ways. And, it may take an extended amount of time. For instance, Abraham was 75 years old when God told him to leave Ur and promised Abraham an heir. He was 100 when Isaac was born. (Gen. 12:5; Gen.21:5)
If there are obstacles in the way, and if the calling is genuine, God will, in His time, make a path through those obstacles and will make provision. The prophet Elijah was a great example of God’s provision during the drought. (1 Ki.17,18,19)
I am reading a book called “Chasing the Wild Goose” by Mark Batterson. (The Wild Goose was a Celtic name given to the Holy Spirit–not meant to be irreverent.) In his book, Mark made an interesting statement that caught my eye. He said that many times people want to know God’s will without wanting to know God. I thought that was very insightful. So, there is another check in determining the validity of a calling…how close to God are we? How in tune with Him are we?
As to the circumstances that arise afterward, if the calling was of God, then, perhaps the apparent roadblock is as well. As was mentioned by MaryBeth @MaryBeth1, it may be that that calling was designed for that person to serve in the capacity he/she finds himself.
Paul said that “in whatsoever state I’m in, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). Paul was talking about his abundance or lack of funds. He would serve God and be content with what God provided. In that case, Paul concluded that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. (Phil 4:13)
Then, Paul found himself with an infirmity that he pleaded with God to take away, but God didn’t for a specific reason =to keep Paul humble and for Paul to see that God’s grace was sufficient for him. So, Paul decided he would boast in his weakness because he found that when he was weak, then he was strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
In more recent times, Charles Spurgeon, the great revival evangelist, was known to suffer great bouts of depression throughout his life. Yet, he was used mightily by God.
So, it is not the circumstance that should cause one to doubt God’s call, but our response to it. God can use a heart that accepts his misfortune but will rely on God to allow that person to accomplish His will.
I hope this has been helpful.

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Good morning, Marybeth @MaryBeth1
I was reading in Romans 11 this morning and came across verse 29: “God’s gifts and His calling are irrevocable”. Paul is speaking about God’s promise and calling to Abraham that Abraham would be a great nation through whom all people will be blessed…because the Messiah would come through the Hebrews.
However, this verse applies to us as well because it confirms God’s unchangeable nature.

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Good morning, Sharon,

You are so right! By grace this verse applies to the Gentiles as well. :slight_smile:

I really appreciate your contributions to this post and others as I have been a recipient of learning from you. I look forward to more in the future.

Grace and peace to you,
Mary Beth

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Thank yall, everyone for taking time to read and reply.

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