This post was written by Dr. Suzanne Thomas, APRN-BC.
You may be agreeing in your heart and wondering how. How do you know where and what to do and when to go—all those practical things we think about when we plan our day, our week, our month. Will the budget accommodate? Who will take care of home and work responsibilities when I go?
But all those are issues God manages. He’s in control. He figures it out. We just have to be open to recognize when He is calling us. Sometimes it is literally a call. Here is what happened to me one summer.
I was praying for a call to service. I had never done that before, but my friend and colleague in the clinic shared with me that I could pray for a call. I just had to be ready to receive it. So I prayed, and went on working in the clinic. Days and weeks went by. I kept praying, not really knowing what to expect, and then one Thursday afternoon the phone rang. A woman said, “I need a nurse practitioner to work in the State Prison System. It’s a temporary job while they find a provider for full time permanent employment.” Prison! My heart sank to the floor. I didn’t want to work in a prison. The thought of it scared me. But I needed additional work hours and at her insistence I said I would consider it and let her know in the morning. She needed someone Monday morning.
Prison—my energy level sank just thinking about it. I began to pray again when I realized—that was it! I literally had a call! The more I thought about it, the more I realized than Jesus served the prisoners, slaves, and sick people. I am no better that my Jesus, my Lord and Savior! Taking a deep spiritual breath, I called back and said, “Yes. I will go.”
On Monday morning, August 26th, at 7:45 a.m., I reported to the Georgia State Prison System in Sparta, Georgia. I walked in with my large black bag, clinical equipment, lunch, handbag, and identification and credentials in hand.
“You can’t come in here!” the guard shouted.
“Okay.” I turned around and started for the car.
“Come back here. Are you the nurse practitioner?”
“You can’t bring anything in here that we can’t see through. You have to leave that outside.”
I went back to my car, left my purse in the car, put my stethoscope, identification and credentials in my lab coat pocket, and held my lunch in my hand for inspection. I was thoroughly searched. My Georgia Driver’s License was held at the gate. And after making a promise that I would go nowhere except the prison hospital until I was escorted out at the end of the day, I was escorted inside.
We passed through ten electronic gates. The sound of those gates clanging together gave me the creeps. If I had not had confirmation in my spirit that this was truly a call, I would have turned around and headed back to my car before I entered that first gate.
“Dear God,” I prayed in breath prayers with every step, “lead me, Lord. Show me why I am here.” And He did show me. It was one of the greatest experiences of my career. There are many stories I can tell you about that season of service in answer to God’s call. But those are stories for another time.
Listen with your heart, hear with your spirit, pray for a call, let scripture verify His call.