“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” –  Jeremiah 1:5

With these words God calls Jeremiah and appoints him a prophet to the nations. Keeping in mind that we are all called to be prophets, our journey begins where Jeremiah’s does – with a calling to greatness.

Like the modest character who always seems to rescue the protagonist at just the right time, God has monitored each step from the beginning. Like a distracted reader surprised by the author’s cunning, I turn back through the pages of my life saying to him, “No way! That was you all along?” A strong sense of familiarity then comes over me as I notice he has been calling since before I knew how to speak, with a voice that – through my unfaithful life – has grown ever so faint.

That still, small voice you heard as a child telling you that you were made for great things – before the earliest family memories – that’s the voice I’m talking about. Before I knew myself, He had created a path for me:  knew who my friends would be, knew when I would fall, and when I would give him glory. Before I could identify my deepest passions and interests, He had a purpose in mind for them and knew what fruit they could bear. He began this young with each of us. This is the God I yearn to know, the One who is greater than all the stars and galaxies, yet closer to us than our deepest thoughts and desires.

Our wonder of God began with that gentle whisper we heard while playing in the sandbox – the whisper saying we were made for something greater than this world.

In response, as children we pretended to be superheroes, princesses, and adventurers discovering new lands; and as we grew older we challenged our limits with our idealism. It was all a search for the source of this voice that sparked our imagination. St. Thomas Aquinas, baffled by the same mystery of God, embarked on the same quest, praying, “God, who are You and who am I?”

From St. Thomas’ prayer springs forth a well of other deep questions: Lord, why did You create me? Why do I have the deep desires I have? Why can’t I seem to satisfy them in this life? Soon the inquirer discovers that the answers to these questions are greater than he could have imagined. He sees that God has called him to holiness, to continue the legacy of Jesus and the saints. It was the realization of this high calling that caused St. Catherine of Siena to say, “If you are everything God made you to be you will set the world on fire.”

All of the great cathedrals, art, charities, the many science fiction and fantasy films filled with nostalgia for a world beyond – any true good done in this life is a response to that whisper which instilled the hope of heaven within us. God reached out when our hope and wonder were fresh. Bringing that hope to life is a tough battle, but we all can relate to it. Whatever passion we pursue, whatever good work we do, seems to suggest that familiar desire for heaven everyone has on their hearts and minds.

This same God who called us in our youth is still calling out. The real world may try to muffle our discernment of that call to greatness; but no matter how faint His voice may become, His plans for you haven’t changed.

Kilby is a long-standing freelancer for The Monitor and editor of Rambling Spirit magazine.