Today is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, born in 1820. When she was young, she received a call from God that she shared with a trusted friend, “God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him alone without reputation.” She answered that call and pursued medical training. What she is most known for is introducing sanitary reforms in British military hospitals that reduced the death rate from 42 percent to less than 3 percent. I can only imagine the pushback she would have received as she lived out her calling.
Male doctors would have not trusted her. People in general would have resisted her leadership. The wealthy society from which she came would have really preferred she remained home and raised kids. Yet, she felt God’s call and as a result, she changed the face of nursing. The reality of calling is that if you claim the Lordship of Christ, you are called. You have an identity as a member of God’s family that you are different. 1 Peter 2:9 CEB says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.”
You are given this identity to remind us that what we have in terms of faith is for others. Yes, we benefit from this relationship, but we are given this identity for others to hear the truth and the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, what are you called to do? Are you feeling the resistance of your family, the resistance of those you feel called to serve, or the resistance inside of you that says you’re not ready or you don’t have the time? Resistance is always a part of calling that we must tackle.
There will never be a good time to serve. At times it will be inconvenient, or you will feel too tired to follow through. I am sure that Florence Nightingale often felt discouraged by the resistance she received. Yet she was relentless. Often after the hospital was closed for the night, she would roam the halls with a lantern, talking and connecting to the wounded. Her heart was fully invested, and I believe that is what pushed her forward.
If you don’t feel fully invested in your place in the kingdom of God, start telling God you need clarity. Where does He want you to invest your time and energy? Don’t be afraid to have that honest conversation with Him and don’t be afraid of what He tells you. God’s calling aways brings you more joy and fulfilment than you can ever imagine.