It is my pleasure to welcome my dear friend, D Robinson, as this week’s guest writer for Wade in the Word. He is truly a friend in the faith and has shared much wisdom with me over the years. I so enjoyed reading his post and I know you will too! *******************************************************
Job 33:14 For God does speak–now one way, now another– though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.
In the vein of “Wade in The Word’s” recent posts about missing the message and missing the moment, I would add the experience of choosing others’ messages over God’s. More specifically, I’ve had an embarrassing number of times in which I’ve been prime to hear God,
but simply chose some entertainment or other message. I’ve had times when I woke up in the early a.m. “for no reason” and could not get back to sleep, and rather than consider that God wants to speak to me, I turned on the tv, even watched an infomercial instead. God used such times to warn me of things, but I chose the tv or put on some Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, or even some contemporary Christian music, which still isn’t the silence God wanted. Other times, God was ready to speak in the still of the quiet night, but I put in my password and sought others’ words in e-mails and texts. I’ve even looked for others’ faces on Facebook over His Face and conversation.
Once I’ve realized what I was doing in these precious moments, I was sad that I missed out on important time with my Father God. I’ve realized that it’s not so much that these twilight times are the only times He wants to speak to me, but that I can become easily engrossed and involved throughout the day, that I don’t listen to Him. I believe God uses my posture of “laying down” because it’s a fitting time in which I’m away from many labors and activities, even habits, so I’m more likely to hear Him. Does this happen to you too? God is giving us the great privilege of hearing His plans and heart, if we listen and obey.
It’s so easy in our fast-paced and encouraged multi-tasking living to try to do and listen to many simultaneously. Not only am I susceptible not to listen to God throughout the busy day, sometimes I’ve not been able to hear God even at these early hours, because I left the tv on and have been subconsciously listening to an infomercial about 50 ways to cook a meal in one container or how to have abs of steel in 30 days. This lets me know I have to take measures within my day and night to remain open to hearing God. Morning prayer times, prayer walks, prayer before meetings and assignments, time away from my desk and phone, taking a real lunch break, reading His Bible ( which is the one time I’m sure that God is speaking directly to me, since it’s His Words), getting proper rest, etc… are all good practices for being prime to hear God.
In the busyness, I also worried that I might miss something if I was not into many things. But it’s a simple truth that no one is worse for taking time to listen and talk to God, more so listening. One of my prayer teachers, Pastor Daniel Henderson, said, “We seek God, because He’s worthy to be sought.” I’m so much better off, listening to God. How about you? In fact, if we think about it, the “Four O’s God – Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omni-beneficent God” speaking to me is a super privilege. God is giving us the great privilege of hearing His plans and heart if we listen and obey. It’s great because He could easily do anything He wants by Himself. And yet, He chooses to use us even to the point that many times in His Holy Word, He speaks like He “needs” us … like Romans 10:13-15. However, C.S. Lewis described this seeming contradiction of The Independent God who talks to His creation like He “needs” us; “If He who in Himself can lack nothing, chooses to “need” us, it’s because we need to be needed.” (“Problem of Pain”).
Ever since man lost unobstructed sight and hearing of God in the Garden of Eden due to the separating, blinding, and deafening power of sin, we have confused God speaking with us with so many other voices and messages. Thus, we needed His Bible to know Him and His Message. The crescendo is Jesus who was not “discovered” like our scientific discoveries, through a microscope, telescope, probes, satellites, drones or other device used to “discover.” God sent Jesus to mankind in the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4) so we can be reconciled to God through Him and be empowered by Him to hear and follow God as He did. We will have lives that are divinely different because God is present in our lives (Romans 8:9-11, I Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19).
Another reason to turn off the many distractions and turn to God is because if we’re honest any of us can be deceived or “other minded” as the Apostle Paul calls it in Philippians 3:15. “Let us therefore, as many as be mature, be thus minded: and if in anything you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” Previous to writing that divinely inspired thought, Paul was writing about how he was not perfect nor could say he’s “arrived” at all God wants him to be. Likewise, I would say, we so need to take time to hear God because even when we think we think we’re “set,” God can reveal more to us. More that we did not or were not ready to see before.
Even in Bible study, hearing great sermons, reading great books or blogs, I know I won’t understand some things that are so clearly presented to me. Some will say because I’m not truly listening; some will say because I don’t want to accept it; others will say because I’m deceived; and some say because I don’t yet have the capacity or that that capacity ebbs and wanes. While all of the above reasons could be true, the effect is I still don’t understand. But thank God, He still continues to present The Truth with patience and does not beat us over the head in frustration or anger. Time and time again, Jesus either out right said or explained that His disciples (e.g. John 13:7) or others would not understand until later. Counter wise, He also celebrated when people “got it,” like when He asked the same Twelve, “Who do men say I am?” and Peter answered “You are The Christ, Son of the living God!” (Mt. 16:16). “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, no man revealed this unto you. My Father showed you.” If these 12 in the presence of God in the flesh did not “get it” at times and “got it” other times (and we know Jesus was not lacking in His presentation), we do well to accept that Truth comes from God. Men may write it down, expound on it, provide testimonials, and create various kinds of arts and crafts about The Truth, but The Truth comes from God. Furthermore, to know The Truth i.e. to live it, entrust our very lives and eternity on it, we must know God in the only way He’s provided to know Him, through Jesus Christ, His Word and time and experience with Him.