“...and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.” Judges 13:25
It is said that all great movements begin, not with a bang or the clashing of drums or the shouts of the mighty, but with a whisper. Such it is in this passage as we read of the birth of Samson, the promised son whom God has chosen to use to begin the release of the chosen people of Israel from persecution by the Philistines. And such it is in our own lives.
When God calls a person to ministry, the call begins as a small, still voice from deep inside. A stirring. A whisper. A nudge. God does not force Himself on those He calls, but His call is relentless, nevertheless. The person being called becomes aware of the stirring in his soul, and immediately knows the Source. When God stirs your life and calls you to mission, His call is unmistakable. It will not be loud. It will not be forceful. But it will be persistent as it begins to stir you to action.
When God called me into the ministry, I felt the stirring of His hand within my soul. His voice spoke to me through the messages at church, through the songs on the radio, through the words leaping from the scriptures. I knew the calling was there, and like most who feel the Spirit of the Lord beginning to stir them, I resisted the call.
Looking back at my response to the stirring of the Lord’s Spirit from within, I believe now that the response of resistance is a moment of preparation. None of us are ready for God’s call. None of us are adequate or capable or talented enough to serve the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. Certainly Samson, despite his legendary strength and the promises of deliverance through him, was not ready to be the leader who would begin to shatter the Philistine’s bonds.
The resistance is an internal response to our smallness, an awareness of our inadequacy, and it’s a time for God to move within our lives to prepare us for the ministry He has in mind. It is through the resisting that we both find and lose ourselves for Him. It is through the resisting that we come to realize that there is a God, and we are not Him, and that to serve Him, we must release ourselves and become empty in order to be filled with His presence. It is through the resisting that we are molded and formed by the Potter into the men and women He has called us to be.
The resistance takes many forms. For Samson, the resistance took the form of pursuing his own desires and fulfilling his many lusts. It meant using his God-given strength for his own gain. It meant literally sleeping with the enemy and doing life in his own power. It was only after he was subdued and humbled that he was able to become the man God called him to be. It was only after he was shorn of his locks and humbled by his lack of strength, blinded and ridiculed by his tormentors, that he realized it was only in God that strength in truly found. It was in that moment that Samson called out to God, the only time he called out to God in the story of his life, that he might serve God by destroying the Philistine’s temple and idols, thereby bringing glory to God.
My form of resistance was a reluctance to move and to accept the call. Even as God stirred my spirit and called me to move, I dug in and resisted, to the point where I quit praying and quit reading the Word for fear of what I would hear. But as those around me confirmed the call, and as God spoke to me through other means, I reached the point where I could resist no longer. As it says in Jeremiah 20:9, “But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Resistance is futile if one is to remain a follower of Christ. As the Lord stirs, as the Lord calls, so His people follow.
The calling of God and the stirring of the Lord’s Spirit upon a person’s life begins with a whisper, but once that person gives in to the call of God, once they realize that they can only live and move and experience God’s presence through surrender, the stirring ends with the manifest power of God and the world responds with amazement.
Listen for God’s stirring in your soul tonight as you go to Him through prayer, through the scriptures, or through His people, the church. Prepare yourself for His presence and surrender to the call, and go forth and do great things for Him.