It’s either the tail end of today or the wee morning hours of tomorrow, depending on how you look at it. Regardless, this chunk of time is prime reading time for me because the rest of the world turns off which means my mind can turn on. So I’ve been turning pages and scrolling through blogs and I just read one that said, “God told me…”
Fair enough, right? God told you. You were talking to him and you were listening and you heard what He told you. Ok. Sweet.
You guys, can I just say something? I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard the audible voice of God. Which isn’t for lack of trying. You don’t even know how many times I’ve been sitting around praying and said, “Ok God, your turn. Go ahead. Speak.” And you know what happened?
I spent a long time being upset about this because it’s frustrating, you know? Wanting to hear from God and knowing people who truly believe that they’ve heard Him say something profound. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or “spiritual” enough to have God talk to me.
And then I learned better. Because I don’t think that’s the way God works. He doesn’t attach a meter to me and say, “Sorry dear, you’re about 12% short on the holiness factor. You don’t get to hear My voice.”
The fact of the matter is that God knows me well enough to know what medium to use to get through to me in the best way. Sometimes it’s a song with lyrics that speak to my spirit and uplift me. Other times it’s a conversation with my best friend and wise counsel. In the last couple years, God has been teaching me through Scripture, revealing parts of Himself through Living Word.
But most recently, God has been meeting me in the silence.
A few months ago, I hit a crossroads of sorts and prayed for God to give me clear direction. Which sounds like a pretty reasonable request considering the whole “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it'” thing. So I prayed. And I listened to music and I sought counsel and I read my bible and you know what happened?
So I spent some time being upset again. Because how else do you feel when God doesn’t talk to you? I couldn’t make any sense of it because here I was asking God to answer just one question for me with absolutely no response. None of His usual avenues of speaking to me were working. Not the slightest inkling of acknowledgement.
And I was praying about this constantly, friends. The persistent widow had nothing on me. I had been more faithful in praying for an answer to this question than I had been in praying for anything else in months.
And therein lies the problem.
Sometimes I abuse prayer, you guys. Which is sad because God has given me a heart for prayer. I honestly find joy in interceding for others; it’s part of my ministry. But I’ve found that I hinder my prayer life when I spend more of my time on the things I am praying for rather than the God I am praying to. Too often I allow supplication to overshadow adoration and confession and thanksgiving.
I’ve been given free access to the throne of Grace but I forget that I tread on hallowed ground.
So I’ve been shifting my focus a bit. I’m learning how to be faithful in resting in God’s presence. I’m trying to pray not just to ask for things or answers or on behalf of others. I pray so that I can climb up onto the lap of the Creator of the universe and address Him as my Father. I pray so that I can lean my head against His chest when all I’ve been doing is go, go, go and find in Him my safe haven.
And it’s been so much better, you guys. Because this God I serve knows me perfectly. He sees my Elijah heart and knows that I don’t need to hear a booming sound to know He’s present. It’s only your best friend who can sit with you in the silence and still leave you feeling better than someone else’s thousand words.
I eventually got the answer to the question I was asking. It wasn’t the one I was hoping for but I’ve been surprisingly ok with it. I guess that’s what happens when you’re less concerned about knowing the answers and more concerned about knowing God.
Oh to be still and know.