I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;Psalm 32:8
I will counsel you with my eye upon you
My nephew is a five year old bundle of energy. Smart, funny and constantly moving. One morning I decided to run through some reading material with him before class.
We open the book to this four line paragraph and he slowly goes through these new words that don’t come easy as he is now in a higher grade. We arrive at a a word that is unfamiliar. He is unable to decode the word using the rules he already knows. English is like that sometimes. The rules that apply to one word don’t necessary apply to another. Noticing his challenge I wrote down the word in sections for him.
The Fight Begins
No matter how many times I directed him to the side note I made, he kept looking at the word in the story trying to decipher it himself. He kept using the wrong principles, though legitimate ones, to help him sort the word. He refused to follow my present direction and instruction to help him figure it out.. He wouldn’t listen to the person who wanted to help him, the person who knew the way to do it and who wanted him to succeed.
Frustrated he finally listened and got the word. I tried highlighting to him how stopping to listen to the one who knew how to help him understand was important, instead of sticking to his way. He nodded in his five year old exuberance, just happy he got it and ready to move on.
Barely holding on to my patience and taking a deep breath I noticed at the bottom of his reading book another word under the heading “Words to Watch For”. Unlike the smaller unfamiliar words, these words were never seen before and were placed by the creator of the book at the bottom of the page to allow the child to learn the new word before he/she bucked it up in the middle of their reading.
I saw the word. I saw it before He did and knew that he needed to learn it before he got to it in the story so that it wouldn’t frustrate him, causing him to quit. I wanted to prepare him so I took him off course – so to speak – and proceeded to teach him the new word.
Fully frustrated with what he thought was me changing the plans he pouted and whined. He wanted to finish. I had already given him a goal and all I was seemingly doing was slowing down him accomplishing the task.
I let out a heavy breath of exasperation. Frustrated at his unwillingness to listen and trust that I knew what I was saying and that I knew he needed to learn this in order to do what I asked of him; it hit me. This is me and God.
I would avoid listening to God because I felt He was not sticking to His word or the task. I thought each stop, detour and delay was him not being consistent. I too would get stuck in doing what my purpose and task was and not allowing the voice of God to direct me.
From an early age I had a distinct awareness of the voice of God. Tentatively as a child I would hear God’s voice and share what I heard with others. As a teenager I was nicknamed “the Voice” after a speaker prophesied over my life at a church retreat about my ability to hear God and speak what I heard to youth.
After a very bad experience where self-deception and desire led me astray I began to distrust God’s voice. I never threw out the concept of Him speaking. It was evident in His word. But after experiencing a few disappointments and I had chosen the direction of self preservation to keep from embarrassment, and looking stupid. I packaged my wariness of the revealed word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit nicely under the virtue of wisdom and testing the spirits.
But what I was was doing was determining warranty and deducing certainty of outcome. I now wanted all the information and assurance before I did anything He may or not have been saying.
I had also stopped saying, “The Holy Spirit said”. That was too much. What if I was wrong.? So I would say, “I felt” or, “something said”. Another insurance policy for safeguarding against not hearing him correctly. I wanted to make sure I never made mistakes.
But as I began to study the book of Acts these past few weeks I couldn’t help but notice how evident the voice of God was in the lives of the early church. Once He landed at Pentecost there was constant direct engagement with Him.
In chapter 1 the disciples seek God on who they should appoint to replace Judas.
There was Annanias’ vision to go to Saul (Acts 9)
Peter and Cornelius both received individual direction from God in a vision that resulted in Peter going to share the gospel to a people that their culture thought to be defiled and unworthy. (Acts 10)
Paul and Barnabas were commissioned by a word from the Holy Spirit after a period of fasting and praying. (Acts 13)
The truth was God’s direction and instruction was everywhere in the scriptures. And for some of these instructions there was no bible verse to run it by, there was no other believer to go and get confirmation from, there was no previous scripture to put n context with. Sometimes the instruction came in direct opposition to religious laws (Peter going to Cornelius, a Gentile), what previously existed (Noah and rain), having a “proper” plan (Abraham) and culture (Joseph going back to Mary, his pregnant fiancee).
And in each cases there was no knowing what would happen. You know I went to the source for a talk.
Journal Entry Sept 24 – The Sit Down
God, my challenge. I want stability. [To know] this is the way God works. I want to know
Then there is no faith.
Of course I have faith. I have faith in your character. I doubt [when I cant assess constant]
Trust. Trusting is different from knowing.
I trust because I know.
Know Me and not what will happen.
The Sure Foundation
The sure foundation was knowing Him. I got to know Him by being in the Word, praying, fasting and worshipping instead of replacing this with the laziness of attending events for a word, or reading tons of articles and blogs and vlogs for people’s stories. As great a resource these things are they shouldn’t replace the direct voice of God.
The revealed word of God was my stability. Noah had to rely on the word of God when He ventured off into to forest to cut that first tree after hearing about this strange rain that was coming. He had to trust God to get animals on to the ark and trust him to keep him safe as the black mamba (thank you Wild Kratts) slithered by and the majestic lion turned in his direction on Day 29 of 40.
Abraham had to rely on the revealed word of God as he traversed along to location unknown and when he lay on his death bed knowing he did not yet have on the planet offspring that were as innumerable stars.
Joseph, with no way to medically test if Mary was still a virgin went on the revealed word of God and married her.
I believe because of the misuse of this beautiful gift we throw out the principle trying to decode our lives ourselves, not listening for the guidance of God to handle the not so explicit things in the scriptures. Out of fear of getting it wrong, misleading self and others as well as hurt we silence God. But He wants to talk to us. Wants us to trust.
Spend time in the Word and let it renew your thoughts so that you can separate your thoughts to His. Let go of doubt and trust His love for you, allowing Him to lead. Trust.
If you listen you will hear Him…Voice of God – Dante Brown
He is still speaking
He is still declaring…
The wind still obeys
…The voice of God
I’m so glad I hear it
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.Psalm 143:8