When God Calls

When God calls, there are only really two options, ok maybe three. Option one, you ignore it, don’t hear it or don’t want to know about it. Option two, you listen but opt out, ‘I hear what you’re saying and see what you’re trying to do, but actually right now is not the best time for me’, ‘Oh interesting, but it doesn’t really fit with my five-year plan, but maybe come back in five years and we’ll see what we can do then’. And finally, there’s option three, God calls, you listen and you choose to actually do what he’s asking – I think we call this obedience.


When God speaks, he often does so with his still, small voice, his ‘gentle whisper’. We’ve certainly known this over the years. After the winds, the earthquakes and the fires of life comes a gentle whisper. When we take time and make room in the craziness of life to seek God, to still the noise of life even just for a moment, to hear him, to realign ourselves with his plans, his ways and to his call, it is often in these moments that we hear and know him more intimately than before. It is also in these moments that we are able to step back and see a little more of the picture he is painting and the ways that he is working in our daily lives.


Since the beginning of our relationship, Amy and I have sensed something of a call to France. At first, it felt much more like a love for the nation, having both grown up with happy holiday memories in French campsites, ferry crossings, driving through the night, baguettes and cheese for lunch and a sip of dad’s wine at dinner (for educational reasons).


Over the years, we took time and made room for God to speak. There was a moment in our first year of marriage, while living in Eastbourne we took a day out on the South Downs, no phones, no tech, just our Bibles, a notepad and a guitar. We worshipped, prayed and made lots of notes about things we felt were important and how we might make a move to France. It seemed that the best way would be to work a ski season in the French Alps – perfect. We’d cracked it in a day!


Within the month that followed, I lost my job, we found out that Amy was pregnant with our first child and we’d received a message from the new guy who was coming in to lead at our hometown church, Crawley Community Church, asking if we’d consider coming to help shape things as he came into leadership. We laughed!


In the years that followed, we made a number of trips to a number of locations across France. Mostly, they were just holidays, but there was always an underlying motive to see if God might just be calling us to one of the places.


In October 2019, Amy and I took a trip to Lyon, that just so happened to coincide with our 7th wedding anniversary weekend. This was the one we thought. God had prompted me in the January of that year to get in touch with George & Gill who lead at Lumière des Nations. We had a couple of nights with them and some amazing food in what is such a beautiful city. We spent the morning of our anniversary with the church and enjoyed our weekend so much. But, as we returned, we didn’t sense anything, we didn’t feel as though we’d heard much from God but recognised and were encouraged that we weren’t going to miss God when he called as we were actively pursuing his plan for our life.


So, we returned to Crawley, a little disappointed if we’re honest, but we felt more called than ever to invest in our hometown of Crawley, to our friends and family and to everything we’ve known to this point. We settled back into church life, leading worshipping, running Alpha, working hard and this whole France thing dropped out of our minds for a while.


When 2020 began, we had no idea (along with the rest of the world) what was about to unfold. But, on the 5th January, God came calling…