One thing you can be sure of is that there will always be an abundance of opportunity to
call out His name – to call out the name of the Lord. Every one of us who does our best
to faithfully serve God (especially those on a mission in difficult places) should
understand this fundamental truth: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The
righteous run into it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV). We have the opportunity to
practice this daily. As I look back on my life, I realize I have tried to make it my lifestyle
to do so. In my missionary service in various places around the world, I have called out
His name on so many occasions that it became second nature and almost automatic.
Let me share a few of these times with you. Perhaps as you are reading this, you will
want to call out His name. Now might even be the time when you really need to do so.
There are four particular kinds of circumstances when I remember calling out His name
because of what I faced. As I share them, see if they speak to you.
1. Troubling or Threatening Circumstances
The year was 1996. My wife Nancy and I had come to Fiji to begin the School of Urban
Missions for the Christian Mission Fellowship. We came with ninety-day tourist visas
because my work permit had been denied. Pastor Suli had asked us to come by faith
while the CMF appealed the decision that had denied my work permit. After we had
been in Fiji for about eighty-eight days, we found our faith stretched very close to the
limit. If our appeal was not granted in two days, we would have no choice but to leave.
There was not much we could do but continue to call out His name. We knew His name
was Jehovah Jireh, which is translated, “The Lord our Provider.” Faith spoke to us,
saying that Jehovah Jireh would provide the work permit. He would move on the hearts
of those who controlled such things and we would have the victory. Faith never lies.
Suddenly, God moved and I had my work permit. Let me assure you that God is always
in control. He is never late, but very often, He is just in time!
You may be in troubling or threatening circumstances, in which time is running out and
you desperately need a move of God. If so, there will be two ways you can approach
your circumstances. First, you can cry out in desperation and panic. There may be
times when there is nothing else to do but shout “Jesus!” I understand this. However, on
most occasions, try calling out His name with the calm, assured confidence that the
Lord is everything His name describes Him to be. Call out His name, “Immanuel,” which
means, God with us. You can completely trust that He is who His name says He is. He
will be with you and you will watch Him step between you and your circumstances.
Nancy and I saw Him do so with my work permit. It was the beginning of so many times
in Fiji that we could say His name is forever and always, “Faithful and True” (Revelation
2. Inevitable Season-Changing Circumstances
Walking with God inevitably will require that the seasons of our lives must change. We
may be looking forward to such change. However, there will be times when we are not
looking forward to the change, because God is requiring us to move on from what has
been satisfying, fruitful and enjoyable. We have had this happen to us on more than one
occasion. The most significant change of seasons was when God spoke to me that in
one year’s time He would require us to leave all we love in Fiji and return to the United
States. I knew it was God, but our love for Fiji and those who had become dear to us
was so strong that it would be extremely difficult to end the season. I recall going to
Pastor Suli, sharing what God had shown me, and giving him a year’s notice, so he
could make arrangements to bring in replacements. We struggled with it greatly and the
months before we left were emotionally difficult. Even after we returned to America to
begin our new season, the difficult feelings hung on. You may be experiencing similar
times, or perhaps you will in the future.
I learned some valuable lessons from having to leave that wonderfully fruitful, joy-filled
season in Fiji. Here are two that will help you. First, it is normal to mourn the loss of
what you loved in that season that had to end. God will be with you and He will comfort
you. He will take you to a new season in which you will have the opportunity to be an
even greater blessing. One of the names of the Holy Spirit that is so personally powerful
to me is “Comforter.” In times of change, call out His name as “Comforter.” Do it as
often as necessary. You can be assured that He will comfort you. You may be facing
such a change as you read this. Call out His name!
Second, it is normal to feel uncertainty for the future. God is not obligated to explain
how your next season will unfold. He has, however, obligated Himself to be your
“Comforter” as it begins to unfold. I have found the greatest help to being obedient and
trusting is to remind myself that He is both “Immanuel” and my “Comforter.” I also take
great reassurance in the fact that Jeremiah 29:11 says His thoughts toward you and me
are for peace, and He will provide us with a future and a hope. In Jeremiah 1:12
(NKJV), the Lord said, “I am ready to perform My Word.” Keep these truths in your
heart. They will give you strength, hope and peace as you make the transition into the
new set of blessings that have been prepared for you.
3. Circumstances that Invite Blessings for You
Circumstances that invite blessings can tempt us to ignore or forget Who it is that brings
the blessings. These are some of the best times to remember the Lord and express our
gratitude and thanksgiving by calling out His name. Isaiah 9:6 teaches us that His
name is “Wonderful.” When blessings come, I love to say, “Lord, you are “Wonderful.”
Thank you for this blessing. I want you to know that I am grateful and will try never to
take the blessings for granted. You always show Yourself to be faithful to me. Thank
you Jesus!” I recall so many times my heart was touched in such a powerful and
encouraging way because I expressed my gratitude to God. Are you experiencing
blessings today? If so, you will find it both encouraging and rewarding to thank Him.
Begin by calling out His name. Make doing this your lifestyle. You will find others you
influence will begin to do the same. The result is that a spirit of thanksgiving will follow
you everywhere you go. People will be drawn to God and He will be glorified for being
4. Circumstances that Invite Intimacy with Him
My times of devotional intimacy with God can occur anywhere. I was recently
ministering to a new Chinese church being established in New York City, for which I
provide spiritual oversight and authority. It happened that New York City experienced a
massive snowstorm. The streets were blocked with snow and the pastor could not pick
me up from my hotel for the meetings. I was forced to walk through the blizzard from the
hotel to the underground subway train, and take it to the meetings. When I arrived at my
stop, I had to then go out into the deep, cold snow and once again, walk to the
meetings. I did this for four days. It could have been very upsetting, as it was
uncomfortable and extremely difficult for me to travel like this. However, as I sat in the
subway train, I took advantage of the time to fellowship with God. I called out His name,
“Abba Father.” In the midst of all that cold and discomfort, I experienced the warmth of
His love. What could have been discouraging turned into a special, gratifying and
heartwarming time. I saw the beauty of God’s creation in all that snow. You may never
see snow, but in whatever circumstance you find yourself, embrace the same closeness
to God that I felt. You may live in a climate where you face different, but equally
challenging circumstances. Make these times your best opportunities to draw close to
God and call out, “Abba Father.” Always remember that circumstances change, but your
heavenly Father does not. He is forever loving and faithful. May the Lord bless you as
you remember to call out His name.