This time of year, many high school and college graduates are asking themselves, ‘What does God want me to do with my life?’ And it’s not just recent grads. All of us should continually seek to do the will of God in all phases and in all aspects of our lives. But how do we know God’s will? How do we figure out what He wants us to do?
Recently on The Patrick Madrid Show, Patrick shared a story from when he was in his 20s and was trying to figure out where God was calling him – and he didn’t even notice when the answer came through a literal phone call.
Patrick was in his mid-20s, married with a couple of kids when he had a reconversion experience. When he prayed and asked God what he should do with his life, he wasn’t getting any answers – so he took matters into his own hands and quit his job. He had no job lined up, no savings in the bank, but he gave his two week notice on a Friday.
On Saturday morning he got a call from a friend who was a lawyer and, like Patrick, was really into apologetics. Patrick asked his friend to pray for him since he had just quit his job, and his friend agreed to pray for him, but also said, ‘I’ll do you one better. Coincidentally, I just shut down my law practice and decided to do apologetics full-time. I’m opening an office, why don’t you come work with me?’
Patrick said no. He thought that whatever God was planning for him, it wasn’t that. However, his friend was persistent and his wife was persuasive in reminding him that the mortgage did need to be paid – so he agreed to help out temporarily until he figured out where God was calling him.
That friend was Karl Keating, and the organization he was starting was Catholic Answers. Patrick said:
“It took me probably 2-3 months of working in the little, tiny beginnings of the full-time Catholic Answers office before it dawned on me. This is what God is calling me to. And silly old me, I actually turned it down! I was so intent on finding out what God wanted me to do with my life, that when He hit me over the head with it, I said no.
My whole life changed because of that phone call. And you think that was a coincidence? Karl Keating just happened to call me up the day after I gave my two weeks notice, I didn’t have a job, didn’t have any money in the bank, had some kids, etc. That’s God doing that. I firmly believe that.
Furthermore, I’m very aware of the fact that it’s an example in my own life of how I don’t really see God’s hand at work in the moment. At least that’s my experience. I usually see God’s hand after the fact. I usually see God’s will for my life in the rearview mirror. Oh, that’s what you were doing! Oh, that’s why I did that, or didn’t do that!
It makes sense in retrospect, but often in the moment I’m oblivious to it. And I wonder if that may be part of God’s plan in the first place. In other words, it necessitates us trusting in Him and doing the best we can. It’s an example of what I was referring to, which is, ‘If the door opens, I’ll walk through it.’
Now I did walk through that door reluctantly. But it was a door, and it was open at the right time, and it went in the right direction (as in, getting a paycheck to feed my family). Looking for some other door was what I was doing then. But then another door opened. And then the next door opened.
So here I am, more than 30 years later, sitting here talking to you. None of this would have happened if he hadn’t called me that day. If I had persisted in saying no, or any number of other things that might have happened, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Listen below to hear Patrick tell the full story:
The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific on Immaculate Heart Radio.