The Call To Be On Call
Today is Dr J’s birthday and he is on a 30 hour call. But, nope, this is not going to be a post where I am venting or trying to garner pity because ” my husband won’t get a break for his birthday” or ” I won’t see him on his birthday..” ( I actually saw him yesterday and it was great).
I can think of numerous, if not countless, of families and individuals who experience the same desire for a break on either their birthdays or anniversaries, but their work schedule will never allow for such flexibility. Firefighter families, police officer families, military families, surgeon families, mommies etc.
What prompted me to write this post, was just the passing thought that entered my mind as I said good bye to my husband this morning before his long shift. What does it mean to be on call when you really want a break? How can this be applied to Christian living?
In medicine, the doctor on call basically needs to be prepared at all times. This person must be ready to respond, and is actively on duty. If they get called, sometimes doctors are required to physically go into the hospital. My husband has had to ride in helicopters a few times during the night. Other times, doctors can go home and sleep for a few hours and answer questions from home. Regardless of the situation, once that pager rings, even if you are not physically called in, you are required to respond, consult, and advise, with as much alertness and soberness you can possible muster.
Side tangent: My husband gets called in the middle of the night a lot, sometimes he is home with me. He is often hanging off the side of the bed, discombobulated, half conscious looking through the pager and stumbling through our dark living room half asleep giving medical advice. The next time you think about calling your doctor in the middle of the night, IF it’s not an emergency ( and I leave that up to your discernment)… then please just wait till the morning :p Probably better for both you and him.
As Christians, we are called to be on call in this life. The Word of God is filled with many commands and exhortations for Christians to be prepared, stay sober, and maintain an attitude of urgency. We may want a break, feel like we need a break, or even in other people’s eyes, look like we deserve a break, but our Chief commander calls us to be prepared and respond at any given time. Lets take a look at some verses below:
1 Peter 1: 13 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..”
1 Peter 5:8 ” Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Matthew 24:44 ” Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Ephesians 6:10-18 “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…”
I’d be the first to admit, that some days for myself are indeed slower than others. I am not always thinking about lost souls, missional living, discipleship, eternity etc. I admit, I am not always on call in my Christian life. It really is a struggle, and with my own strength it gets pretty discouraging at times. However, like all promises in scripture, when God promises something, He will provide. He promises to provide enough grace for us to get back up and try again ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). He promises His strength for all who call on Him( Isaiah 40:29). He promises wisdom to all who ask ( James 1:5). If He calls us to be on call in this life, then He will enable us to do so till the day He calls us home.
In the mean time, Hebrews 10:24-15 “ And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
On Call With You,
Happy B-Day Dr. J! :p