It’s been several months since I have been in a habit of writing. I feel that God may be telling me that I can begin again.
Sometimes it can be difficult to discern the voice of the Lord. I remember sitting in youth camps listening to leaders trying to convey to me how to hear the voice of the Lord. They would tell me that I would know it was the voice of the Lord if it was something that I normally wouldn’t think of, like cleaning the dishes without being asked; or that it would be something that was affirmed with Scripture; or that it would be confirmed by some random person telling me something. At that age, I believed anything that youth pastors would tell me. It’s funny to think that some of that advice was given to me by leaders that are younger than I am now. While they may be right about all of those things: the way it was presented caused me to go looking for these ques. I began a lifelong journey of discerning the voice of God. Go me.
Since then, I have found that God is actually most audible when I am trying least to hear Him. What I am really doing when I am trying to discern His voice, is I am trying to guess what I think He would want me to do. This leads to me thinking of some idea that I stamp God’s approval on – only, God was never involved in the process. I’m sure God finds this cute and chuckles in the background.
To really listen to God, we just have to let our Spirits be quiet. We have to not try to make the plan. We have to not feel rushed to have a plan. God really seems to think that patience is an important quality for understanding His Kingdom. He likes to develop us in a way that only He knows, so that we will bear the richest fruit when harvest comes. It is not our right to know when or how the harvest takes place. As Americans, we feel a sense of entitlement; and we men, we seek a sense of ownership in fixing things. Coupled together you have a ridiculous recipe for disregarding the voice of the Lord.
There is a reason that Jesus prayed for hours upon hours in quietness. There is a reason that he withdrew from others. It was not for pure amusement that He choose to do things the difficult or the long way. If Jesus were to be driving us somewhere, He might take a left turn if the most sensible choice to us was to make a right. He would go south and we north. God’s ways don’t always make sense, and we can’t make sense of that.
God has grace for us, but is important to understand that we need not understand anything besides what God has taught us. We don’t have to try to figure everything out. We don’t have to try to plan the trip or pack the lunch. Even the act of trying to figure out His will is a restless act. If we spend our time constantly trying to think of what God’s will is, we will get no where. Only He can reveal it to us, and only in His timing. This is done without our demanding it and without our saying “I am ready, go ahead – I give you permission. I am now listening to your will.” You can’t just tune in and out of the will of God like an AM radio station and expect His response at your request. God requires us to first be faithful, to be still and quiet, to be of good character, withholding against sin, upright, righteous, pure, blameless, good stewards of finances, friends, and family.. It is not like we actually deserve to know His will just by being a “good Christian” for a few days..weeks..months…years. There is no difference in how long you have been faithful. There is no recipe to God’s sovereignty. He chooses when, who, and where. How foolish we look when we strut around like princes and princesses with a sense of entitlement. Endurance and longevity earns us nothing, but shows our love for the Father. In return, he chooses to love us back, through eternal blessings – and maybe some temporal.
Not only do we not deserve understanding, we often lack the understanding to even begin to know how to receive the wisdom to understand. Kingdom understanding would show us that God doesn’t place emphasis on human reasoning. Not many Bible stories come to mind where God was concerned with the most efficient way to get somewhere. It isn’t filled with stories about how He used the most common sense methods for achieving difficult tasks. The Bible tells a story of a God who chooses to do some of the most unexpected things during some of the most unexpected times to uplift some of the most unexpected people. We cannot and will not know the full understanding of God. That is why childlike faith is so great. Profess that you believe God can and will take care of everything, then believe it – just like a four year old thinks his dad is superman.
So here’s the application: To be continued…