What if someone told you, “Forget about your God and just do what I say”? What would you do? Would you listen?
God knows that many voices shout out, confusing us, but he still speaks: “Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention. Forget your people and your father’s house” (Psalm 45:10) Those near and dear might try to control, might want to keep us ‘safe’, but God wants to take us where we have never gone before.
He asks us to trust him, to take a step into the unknown. He stretches out his hand and invites us to grasp it. “Come, follow me,” (Matthew 4:19) he calls. And we can, into his adventure, individually designed for each one of us.
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
We instinctively respond to someone in distress. It is natural. But what if it’s someone with a demand or an unmet expectation, and they want us to fulfil it?
On occasion people have cried, “I want this and that, and you have to do it.” And because of their insistence, I forgot about God’s voice in my life. Through unthinking compassion, I lost my way.
I have learned the hard way that blind compassion hinders them and me. It’s my responsibility to not instantly respond. Three times the Bible says, “Do not be hasty…”* And even though it might be hard to stand still in the face of another’s strong emotions, we owe it to ourselves and God to pause and think. There might be another way.
*1 Timothy 5:22; Ecclesiastes 5:2; Proverbs 19:2
Photo by Shwa Hall on Unsplash
Have you ever been so upset, you dared not speak? I recently was, even though I did all the right things. Count to ten. Take deep breaths. Try to see things from another perspective.
Nothing helped, and all I accomplished was losing sleep and gaining five pounds in weight. I cried out to God, “Help me.”
A simple thought came to mind… “Focus on God.”
I shifted my gaze from the pain within, to a verse on the kitchen window sill. “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and rich in love.” (Psalm 145:8) I caught my breath. I had been feeling the opposite. It was time to realign with God.
Do you have verses around the house to help you regain perspective?
A few days ago someone assured me that I could still fulfill a dream I had as a youth. I had wanted to become a medical doctor, but no matter how hard I tried, the door slammed shut again and again. This ‘someone’ encouraged me to go back to school.
I declined. My doctor dream may have been totally crushed, but God replaced it with something else. You see, our talents can be expressed in many different ways. I had wanted to help people’s bodies to heal, but God wanted me to help people’s hearts
What about you? Has your life turned out different than you had hoped? Do you feel like it has been ruined? Don’t give up hope. Seek God’s perspective. Let him redirect you and you will find life.
I have this persistent longing to make a mark in life. I have this one-track mind that says it must look a certain way. Somehow it has sunk deep into my heart that adulthood is where it happens. Why? I grew up with that old Victorian creed, “Children should be seen and not heard.” I believed that life did not begin until one grew up.
But God is challenging me yet again, to go to those silenced ones, any silenced ones, whether children or adult, and listen. To value them and help them find their voice.
God is saying, “Hear and pay attention. Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.” (Jeremiah 13:15) This is a challenge for me… to step away from making a mark… to step into sync with God…. to enable the silenced to speak.
The other night my mobile phone’s GPS told me that my thirty-minute journey would take two hours! Another accident, I thought. I followed the directions. Then it said, “Turn left on Bicycle Route 6.” What? It thought I was a bike!
I reset my phone, and it took me down a single-track road. Four kilometers later, no lights or habitations around, tall metal bollards blocked my way. Only bicycles could pass through. I came unglued. “I’m a car,” I cried out, “not a bike!”
Then it hit me. I wasn’t a car. I wasn’t even an insignificant dot to a satellite in the sky. I was scared, and God’s precious daughter. I could trust HIM… I turned off my mobile phone and prayed. God got me home with his GPS.
I had a dream for 2016. I wanted to learn how to write humour. If sad people could laugh, it might give them hope. But now, a year later, I still haven’t found the joke.
If I told you I was taken hostage by the seriousness of life, you might believe me if you heard my story. But that didn’t stop me. I found some second-hand comedian books, listened to you-tube talks. I even interviewed.
Now, with only two days left of this year 2016, I am thinking… “Wait a minute! GOD is the source of all good humour! Why didn’t I think of asking him?” Guess what I’ll be doing in 2017?
The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God.” (James 1:5)
Have you ever been caught in a darkness so deep, you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face, even when you held them right up to your nose? Maybe you decided to sit still and wait things out.
But, imagine, your child starts crying. Deep darkness or not, you feel your way forward, crashing into furniture, calling out comforting words. It takes a desperation to actually walk, without sight, without light. The Bible says, “Let him who walks in the dark and has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)
Are you walking in darkness? I am. Let’s follow the unseen God within our hearts.
It hardly ever happens. Derek and I stopped. We stood in a beech wood. There was no wind, no noise, no people, just us. We watched leaves fall from the trees, one every few seconds. We heard the “plif” as each one landed.
Life is like that. We can’t hear anything until we stop. Today I heard an agitated voice. I listened to the silence behind their words, and I heard the “plif.” What that person actually meant was, “I feel so alone. No one listens to me. Please accept me.”
Jesus stops with us in the silence behind our words. He wants us to hear his “plif.” “I comfort all who mourn… I bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (from Isaiah 61:2-3)
How often I desire to see him, but “he wraps himself in light.” How often I want to know where he is going, but “he rides on the wings of the wind.” But… I can hear him, because “he makes winds his messengers.” (Psalm 104) The winds blow around me all the time. I can stop and listen. God speaks.