A Call, and A Calling
4 min read

A Call, and A Calling

Nov 1
4 min read

Just over a year ago, I got a call that changed my life.

My mom called to tell me she was driving dad to the hospital. He was in excruciating pain, which was enough to stop all of us in our tracks; if you knew my dad, you knew his pain tolerance was through the roof. I don't think he had ever been to the emergency room before.

What unfolded over the next few weeks was the most difficult period of my life to date–and hopefully the most difficult I will ever face.

After a stroke-like episode that left him on life support, my dad fought like the absolute champ he is for weeks.

But eventually, the toll on his body was too much. Last September, the Lord delivered him out of temporary pain and into eternal peace as my dad moved from death to life.

To say this was a gut-punch would be a tremendous understatement. And this experience–that phone call–set me on a journey that I’ll be on for the rest of my life.

image of nick and father

I began asking myself the age-old questions. “Why are we here on this earth?” and “Why am I here on this earth?”

I’ll admit, there have been a lot of moments where I didn’t really care what the answers were. I just want to be with my dad.

After all, if the next life is everything we believe it will be, why are we spinning our wheels here? Aren’t we just wasting our time?

I thought I could get on board with the idea that this life is preparation for eternity, but then more questions came: Is anything I am doing making an eternal difference?

Shouldn’t I sell everything I have and go live in a monastery somewhere? Or build a village in a third-world country to reach the lost? Because otherwise, what am I doing? And why?

I’ve wrestled and wrestled with these questions. I’ve yelled at God.

I’ve felt “trapped” here on this planet, forcibly separated from an earthly father who was an imperfect yet incredible picture of the heavenly Father’s love for me.

But here’s what the Lord has been telling me, time and time again: I’m here as long as He wants me here. Not for myself, but for Him.

And while I can’t always tangibly see how my work is advancing His work or how my daily labor directly builds His kingdom, what I do know is that I’m walking down a path that He has set for me. That He has work for me to do.

And as long as He keeps opening doors, I have to keep walking through them.

More practically, I know this means I have to do something to make this place a little bit better for my kids and grandkids.

Not because I or we can really “fix” this world, but because we have a responsibility to try. To preserve the freedom God has given us. To protect and expand opportunity so our next generations can walk through their God-opened doors and live out their callings.

So. That’s a lot of build up. What does it all mean?

We are starting a new movement in the state of Arkansas.

It’s a movement based on embracing and preserving what we love so much about our state, but recognizing we can still do better.

  • We can do better than a violent crime rate that is 70 percent higher than the national average.
  • We can do better than trapping kids in foster care, which far too often leads to lives in poverty–and often lives of crime.
  • We can do better than one in three Arkansans trapped on Medicaid–a number that continues to rise.
  • We can do better than taking 5 percent out of Arkansans’ paychecks, seemingly punishing them for working.
  • And we can do better than two out of three Arkansas kids not being able to read at grade level.

Every one of these factors is a hurdle for our kids and grandkids being able to walk into the destiny that God has set out for them.

We can do better, and we must do better. Our state is too great to settle for anything less for any longer.

And while I’m wholly uninterested in “being better” to impress others or build some sort of earthly kingdom that will simply crumble, I know I must use my God-given gifts to identify and analyze problems and help find solutions.

For the next generations. For my friends and neighbors who I love; for their kids. For all of us.

Please don't get me wrong: this movement is not in any way about me. It's about all of us and this state that we love.

So I challenge you to ask yourself, "What gifts do you have that could help protect and expand opportunity for the next generation of Arkansans?"

Because we need your help. We have work to do. We all have a part to play by learning how we fell this far behind. To pull together towards real ideas that will deliver real change. And to commit to never going backwards.

I don’t pretend that I’ll ever understand why things happened the way they did with Dad–and some days I still doubt that things truly “all work together for the good'' of those who love Christ.

But here’s what I do know: all of this led me to here. To today. To this moment.

Ephesians 2:10 says,

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I believe, and I know, that this work we are now taking on is 1) good work, and 2) work that God prepared in advance for me—and maybe you—to do.

Will you join us?

Image of the story authorNicholas Horton
Founder & CEO

Nic Horton is a native Arkansan and Founder & CEO of Opportunity Arkansas. He has spent more than a decade in the conservative movement as an expert on election, disability, tax, welfare, and workforce reform.

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