My 2 ½-year-old son and I play a game together. I would call it hide and seek, but it’s really more like call and seek. Here’s how it works:

  1. My son runs off somewhere in the house, usually just a few feet from where I’m standing.
  2. I pretend not to know where he is.
  3. I call out, “Where’s Keyshawn?”
  4. Silence, foloowed by him crying out, “Not here!”
  5. I repeat step 4 a few times while I look in all the wrong places.
  6. I finally “discover” Keyshawn, listen to his squeal of delight, and start the game over again.

Although he may think he’s hiding from me, he’s not really hiding. He’s calling. He wants to be found. While he may enjoy the hiding, he doesn’t want to stay hidden for long. The joy is in being found.

God is much the same way. While it may seem odd to compare the Almighty God to my 2 ½-year-old son, the fact is that both of them want to be found by the ones they love. And, just like my son in our game of call and seek, God beckons us with a call.

Often, we ask the question, “What is God calling me to do?” Perhaps the better question is, “Who is He calling me to?”

The answer to the first question is as unique as we are. The answer to the second question, however, is the same every time: he is calling us to himself.

We see this principle in the Bible when God called Joshua to take up the mantle of Moses, who has recently passed away, and lead his people into the promised land. Before God gave Joshua his literal marching orders, he gave him a command that was to undergird every decision and action that Joshua would take:

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
— Joshua 1:6–9 ESV

God was essentially saying, “Put me first. Focus on me. Listen to me and embrace who I am. If you follow me faithfully, the promised land will be yours.”

God had a plan for the Israelites to take possession of the land, but at the center of that plan was himself. It was not a great military strategy that would secure the victory. It was not troop numbers, overwhelming force or tactical know-how that would defeat their enemies. Faithfulness and simple obedience would be the key.

When we embrace the calling of God unto himself, it is easier to embrace the unique calling that God places on each one of our lives. To seek an answer to the second question before resolving the first is to put the proverbial cart before the horse. When we do that, we will find ourselves pushing our cart in the wrong direction instead of riding it to the destination of our dreams.

Many of us are eager to know the what of God’s calling, but it’s essential that we begin with the who. As we pursue him faithfully, honor his Word and live a life of obedience, the specific calling of God will reveal itself in unmistakable ways. Understanding and pursuing the who of our calling will ensure that we are ready to undertake the what when the time is right.

And just like my son, God calls out to us, “Here I am!” Will we seek him?

Seek the Lord while he may be found: call upon him while he is near;
— Isaiah 55:6 ESV

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
— Psalm 9:10 NIV