Faithful is He Who Calls You

Faithful is He Who Calls You

by Dianne Wood on June 1, 2020
“Faithful is he who calls you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NKJV)

How does one get to know the faithfulness of God? The fact is, there is no sermon or class that can do this. Classes and sermons can open your heart to be receptive. But truly knowing God deeper comes through life experiences and what we do with them. And we can miss it, miss the fact that God is using both inconsequential moments as well as the grand dramas to reveal Himself to us.

I grew up in Alaska, where I came to know Jesus as a young teen. In my last year of high school, I felt the Lord calling me to become a foreign missionary, but because of my turbulent family and home life, I wasn’t sure that He could actually be talking to me. The date was 27 March, and I felt God prompting me to open a devotional book to the scriptural reading for that day. One of the verses shined out from the page as though there were neon lights behind it: “Faithful is he who calls you, who also will do it.” The voice of the Lord spoke gently into my heart, “Dianne, if I called you to be a missionary, I will make you into a missionary.” I learned a crucial life lesson in that moment: It is God who calls, and God who equips.

I had no idea what that meant, but it has been a process God has been working on for my entire life. First, He led me to change my university plans and apply to Bible college. He brought my future husband Darrell to Alaska on a summer evangelism ministry, and two years later, we were married. After we had graduated from college, God called us to Alaska, where we went to the one place on the planet that I did not want to go: Southeast Alaska. I had heard all the stories of the darkness, both the spiritual oppression as well as the gloomy weather, of the isolation, the prejudice of Native American Indians for “the white man,” of the alcoholism, drug abuse, and violence. But both Darrell and I knew beyond doubt that God had called us there. So, trusting in God’s faithfulness, we went.

And I learned another crucial life lesson: God is not cruel; if He leads you into a situation that you don’t want to be in, that you greatly fear, it is because He is constantly working to bring you into greater liberty. I am most definitely not a brave person; most of the things I’ve done in my life are in spite of me, not because of me. But I’ve learned that God wants me to live free! Free from fear, free from bondage. What I fear holds me in bondage, and if I fear enough, it has the power to keep me from living in obedience to God’s call. In the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4), Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to… proclaim liberty to the captive … to set at liberty those who are oppressed….”

God’s greatest desire for us is not that we can live worry-free lives in prosperity; His desire is to set us free -- from sin, from fear, from bondage. Whatever we fear holds us in bondage, so He gently leads us into those very situations we fear the most, not to torture us but to bring us into continually growing freedom (Galatians 5:1, ESV). The Apostle John writes: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear….” (1 John 4:18). It is God’s perfect love, first of all, that we must come to know personally. And as the experiences of life demonstrate His unfailing love and faithfulness, it nurtures our love for Him. The more we know His love, the more we will trust Him; the more we trust Him, the less we will fear.

So, we went to Southeast Alaska, and if I had time and space, I’d tell you about the little shack we lived in on pilings, and the day the black bear and a dog had a fight under our bedroom. Or about the time I was in a two-passenger plane trying to get back to our village in a massive windstorm, and how the window of the plane opened and almost dumped me out. Or about the time God led me to witness to one of the practicing witches of the village, and how later she was saved and became one of our Sunday School teachers. I’d tell you about the demonic spirit of suicide that ravaged our village, with suicide attempts averaging once a month… until the Spirit of God broke that spirit and it has never returned. We saw miracles of conversion so shocking that people would spontaneously arrive at the church because they felt a hand pulling them. We saw a revival that has impacted the following generations to this day.

And it was still hard. Every day, every day, I had to pray to be willing to be there; every trip out of the village, I had to pray to be willing to return. Being in God’s will does not guarantee that it will be easy.
But if I had the time, I’d also tell you how I learned about the God who calls, who cares deeply for us, who wants to bring us into true liberty from everything that we fear. The God who provides, sometimes miraculously, who will never, ever leave us or forsake us. And I’d tell you that He is the same God who will be there for you. “Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it.”