Ben Campbell Johnson’s book, Hearing God’s Call (Eerdmans, 2002), is a must-read resource for anyone sensing a call from God.
In Johnson’s words, has God been messing with your life? “God has always called human beings to share in the divine mission in the world - and he still does” (ix). God’s “messing” in our lives, or God’s call, can lead us toward many different ways of participating in God’s work in the world. Our call to participate in God’s purposes can be a calling to a particular job that serves the greater good (lawyer, teacher, doctor, construction worker, etc.), it can be a calling on us to adopt certain volunteer ministries or causes, or it can be a call to make ministry (church ministry, mission work, organizational ministry) our primary vocation.
No matter what God’s call in our lives is, a call always begins with a divine-sort of nudge. This nudging can come in many forms and originate in various sources. Johnson’s book provides thoughtful reflection, personal stories and workbook-like questions and suggestions to help us in learning how to discern God’s call in our lives. Johnson leads us to probe our personal narratives with poignant questions, to turn to trusted friends and mentors in our lives as resources and to listen for confirmation of our callings in numerous ways.
Johnson emphasizes the continuous nature of God’s call, not occurring in only one moment but speaking as a constant presence in our lives that grows with us. As God continues to speak to us and as God’s ongoing call to us evolves, learning discernment is an invaluable resource for all. Hearing God’s Call is a book that can help us to listen closer, discern more intentionally, grow with our callings and become people who live lives fully embraced by the call.
Johnson, Ben Campbell. Hearing God’s Call.