Today is the nativity of St. John the Baptist, aka his birthday. Happy birthday, John! John was called, from before his birth, to be the Lord’s special servant, to usher in a savior, THE savior and to teach people about forgiveness of their sins. We could call him Jesus’ “hype man.” He was sent so that when people’s heart’s met Jesus, they would recognize Him.
John’s calling was fairly straightforward; even his father, on the day John was born, knew what John was meant to do in with his life. Not only did Zechariah receive God’s grace to know that and pass that along to his son, but the scripture shows that even if John questioned his calling he need only to look at his cousin’s lineage, whose (step) father Joseph was born of the house of David, to know that Jesus was something special, someone the world should know.
I’ll be honest though, my calling doesn’t always feel that straight forward. I am in my mid-20s and my life is certainly not how I pictured it would be at this age. My job is not one that I studied for in college. My love life is non-existent as I do not know how to let go of a man that I love but who has left. I have no financial security or loving husband or children in sight. This is uncharted territory for me, and it’s a territory that doesn’t lend itself well to hearing a call.
Like the people of Jerusalem from Psalms (the wrong Psalm, Psalm 37), my temple, my sanctuary, myself often feels destroyed. Like them, I ask God why and I beg him to protect me from my enemies. Unlike them though my enemies are intangible and all originate within myself: loneliness, failure, anger, fear. Sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me because I haven’t found the man I’m supposed to build a partnership and a family with yet when it seems like the majority of people are having no problem doing that. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right decisions, like did I do the right thing when I decided to leave the career I was educated in for a job that is a complete 180 of what I was doing? Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing enough, or if I should be doing more because I don’t have what I thought I would have at this point in my life.
But then you hear the words in Isaiah and you almost realize that none of that matters. These decisions we think will make or break us are nothing compared to the decision to trust God and know that He has specifically formed you to be His. This should be the foundation that all other decisions are based on. This should be the comfort and the commission that we turn to when we’re having doubts about our lives.
Like Isaiah says, it’s no secret that God is king and trusting God to be king in your life will bring the world blessings. It’s been proven time and again in scripture. When you make the decision to be God’s servant, you become a weapon in His hands. Everything you do as God’s servant becomes a way for Him to cut down your enemies of loneliness, failure, anger, fear, and not just in yourself but in every person that you interact with.
So although the specifics might not always be clear and life might not be how you pictured it would, one calling will always remain: the call to be a servant of God. God has shown us time and again, most notably in John the Baptist, the power of what being his servant does for the world. Like John the Baptist, we are God’s servants in order to open people’s hearts to God’s love so that when they see God in the world they recognize Him.