When God speaks…are we listening?

It’s fair to say that as Christians, we want to hear from God. We desire His input about what is going on in our lives and around us. We seek his guidance on matters that are close to our hearts and minds. Still, sometimes, we just don’t seem to hear from him about the things we’ve been inquiring for counsel on.

As much as we may find ourselves tempted to say or think, ‘Ahem, Lord Most High, are you hearing me?,’ patterns in scripture suggest that wouldn’t be an appropriate response from us. God does hear. He does care, particularly for those who are listening to him and heeding his commands. When we don’t feel like we are hearing from him, there are some things we need to keep in mind.

We quickly forget who is sovereign. While it’s quite true that he is interested in the details of our lives, he has a grander picture that he’s drawing together. Sometimes the things we’re focused on fall under not now, not at all, or not how you think. Meanwhile, he’s working, but he’s working in the order that brings about the greatest glory and goodness, which might not mean addressing our concerns promptly.

If we want whatever we’ve been asking about more than him, expect to be disappointed. If he gives us that promotion, or that ministry opportunity, or fill in the blank with what occupies your thoughts, it will fall short of our desires if we’ve placed too much emphasis on that person or event filling us. On the other hand, if he says wait or no, until we’ve come to a place where we’ve surrendered it, we’ll feel a measure of frustration and/or confusion about why it is so much on our radar and evidently, last on God’s to-do list.

If we’re ensnared in a pattern of sinful behavior that God’s been pointing out to us, but we’re persisting in it, we shouldn’t be too surprised if our requests are put on hold. This is a tricky one to me because of course there will always be something that still needs to be weeded out of our lives. However, I do think that when we’re patient in our relationship with the Lord, he will nudge us in the direction of our besetting sins. As much as it can be irritating and discouraging to ask for something and keep being redirected to the dark places that we don’t want to see or address, again, it is out of his love that he guides us to deal with these things first. Ask him to help you see past the manifestations of sinful behaviors and down to the root of the problem. That’s the place where he needs to work with you and as that place is cleared away, the Spirit helps you with the outward attitudes or behaviors that you can’t seem to change on your own long-term.

If we aren’t spending much time building a relationship with him, we are less likely to hear answers to our questions. There are times in our lives when we get busy and/or distracted by the things we’re involved in and we allow them to crowd out regular fellowship with the Lord. When this happens, sometimes we lose some sensitivity to his voice. Even when this is not the case, we have to keep in mind that growth and depth in a relationship takes a great deal of time and if we don’t choose to carve out that time, a relationship will lose ground or stagnate. We need to be available to him for his purposes when he’s invited us to come.

Ok. Suppose you know the Lord is sovereign over your circumstances, you want his purposes more than the desires of your heart, you have a clear conscience before him, and you are invested in your relationship with him and…you still find yourself straining to hear a reply. Ask him to help you listen to what he has for you right now. Make every effort to respond to what he is saying. Be willing to accept his words for you might not appear to relate to that which you have been asking him about. Hang in there.

Advertisements