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Excerpt from THE LANGUAGE OF SPARROWS:
When God Calls Us By Name by Rachel Phifer
Sometimes it’s dramatic. It comes in a blinding flash of light, and God asks you to give up everything you’ve known. Sell your possessions. Go to China. Know that He is God. And know nothing else. Your life looks like it belongs in the Book of Acts.
Truth be told, we don’t see enough of that. My life certainly has never looked like it belonged among Peter and Paul’s stories, and it’s probably due to my own lack of faith.
And yet, so often, when God calls your name, it’s a quiet whisper. He delivers a simple reminder that He knit you together. He made you for a purpose. It may be a quiet purpose, but it fits you like a glove.
Recently I had the opportunity to take a tour of a research lab where DNA gets modified. There were little petri dishes with microscopic cells floating in them. With the injection of a single new gene, healthy cells became cancerous or cancer cells became healthy.
The lab manager showed us a DNA construct with the letters identifying it. Since we were all non-scientists, she explained it in simple terms. “My name is Samar. My name tells who I am. But suppose, we change a letter of my name. Suppose I take out the “r” and replace it with a “t.” Samat does not have the same identity as Samar. Samat behaves differently than Samar.”
|Courtesy Google Images|
And I couldn’t help but think of the special name God has given us in the Book of Life. Perhaps it will even look similar to the name we already knew – encoded in it might be the same talents, the same appearance, more or less the same personality, the same history. But when we turn to Him for our identity, He alters our DNA by a smidge or by a yard, and we find there’s a brimming-over of life, which we didn’t have before. We are redeemed to be everything He created us to be.
Last week I picked up writing after weeks of not being able to get to it. And I hate to say it. It sounds too lofty. But with each word I typed, each phrase I edited, I felt God’s whisper. This is who you are. This is how I made you. Why have you stayed away? I have something for you to do here. I can meet you here.
What is it for you that brings God’s whisper –I breathed this joy into you when I breathed life into you?
Maybe it’s something ordinary such as cooking dinner for your family or crunching numbers. Or maybe it’s something identity-shaking such as going, full-time, to take the good news to the street people of Albania.
What good thing did God give you to do to build up His kingdom? God made each saint unique in their saintliness, after all. He gave each one of us our own story. So our call may involve a lot of self-sacrifice. It may be all joy. But you’ll know it’s you He’s calling because whether God comes to you with a mighty trumpet blast or by tiptoeing quietly into your life, He’s called you by name.
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As the daughter of missionaries, Rachel Phifer grew up in Malawi, South Africa and Kenya, and managed to attend eleven schools by the time she graduated from high school. Books, empty notebooks and cool pens were her most reliable friends as she moved from one place to another. She holds a B.A. in English and psychology, and lives in Houston with her family.
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