“I don’t know what God’s will is.” “A lot of people around me say things like ‘It’s amazing to be used by God. So this is what it’s like to respond to God’s calling.’ But I have no idea what God’s calling me to.” “I have lots of hobbies and things I like to do, but I don’t know if that’s my calling from God.” “Because I don’t know, I can’t do anything.”
All of us have had these kinds of worries from time to time, and I think a lot of people probably feel this way right now. At EC17, I led a workshop focused on this topic. I’d like to share just one part of that. It might not give anyone a definitive answer, but I hope it can be at least a little bit encouraging to those who have been saved by Jesus and want to give their newfound lives to the Lord.
There are many methods of listening to God, but I’d like to talk about one called Holy Discontent. What does discontent have to do with your calling? Everyone has different discontent in their lives, but when it lines up with God’s will, it becomes holy discontent. In other words, when we look on this depraved world from God’s perspective and feel in our hearts, “Things can’t stay like this!”, “I can’t leave things this way!”, or “I can’t stand it anymore!”, that’s holy discontent.
In the Old Testament, Nehemiah was someone whose holy discontent was used by God. The walls of his hometown Jerusalem had been broken down ever since the Babylonian captivity, and those who had escaped the captivity were in a very difficult situation. When Nehemiah heard about it, he became very sad (Nehemiah 1:3-4) and thought, “Things can’t stay this way!” It wasn’t just that, however; he admitted that this situation was the result of Israel’s sin (1:6-7), he remembered God’s words (1:8-9), knew that God was moving in his heart (2:12), and said that he should be the one to stand up and rebuild the walls (1:11). Nehemiah wanted God to bring success in rebuilding the walls in order to prove that the omniscient, omnipotent God of Israel was alive (2:20). The result was that God used Nehemiah mightily, and the walls that had been left broken down for the 140 years since the captivity were rebuilt in just 52 days (6:15). Furthermore, the surrounding nations who had been slandering the Jews were afraid, and they knew that this work had been done through God (6:16).
It’s cool, right? I kind of wish I could end by saying, “Let’s respond to God’s calling just like Nehemiah did,” but we worry because it’s difficult to do so, because we don’t have confidence in what God’s will is, and because we’re afraid of failing. Because of this, I’d like to end by sharing something Pastor Katsuhiko Seino talked about in his workshop on world missions at EC05. In answer to the question, “What should I do if I make a mistake about God’s will?”, this is how he answered.
“What should you do if you make a mistake about God’s will? Hm… What’s important is your motives, right? If you look carefully at your motives and they are that you sincerely want serve God and go out into the mission field, then you don’t need to worry about wondering what God’s will is. God is a dynamic God! As long as you have a heart that truly wants to please Him, then He can use you.” 
God has created each of us uniquely. I think that God has given each of us holy discontent that only we can respond to because we are all different in how we grew up, where we are now, our hobbies, our abilities, and our personalities. Once you recognize that discontent, as long as you desire to serve the Lord through it, I believe that God is saying that as you pray and rely on Him, you can boldly step out in faith.
Translation from http://d.hatena.ne.jp/mmesachi/20060108/1136773478
* Audio of this workshop is available at the website (Japanese only).