What questions do you ask God? I hate to think of how many times He has heard the same ones from me ... Why? How long? Who, me? Wait, what?? Sometimes I find myself wanting a neon sign with instructions for what to do next!
Unfortunately, neon sign instructions would not leave a whole lot of room for faith, would they? (Though it sure would be easier!) To build our faith, God teaches us to listen and watch for the more subtle instructions He gives us.
This week, as we continue our Renewal Journey, we are going to explore the topic of Guidance. How do we know and listen and have the courage to move forward?
The first example is the prophet Elijah. I relate to him in so many ways. He does spectacular miracles and then has a massive pity party when Jezebel threatens to kill him (1 Kings 19). Still, the Lord has the compassion and patience to give him rest and food before He reveals himself to Elijah on the mountain. And then we see the whirlwind and the earthquake and finally the still small voice. Even though Elijah has been in a muddle, he does know how to recognize the Lord's voice. We see through his story that the Lord is kind to His children and has good plans in store - we just need to learn to listen for his voice.
The second story is with the Apostle Peter in Acts 10. Peter is boldly traveling across Judea to proclaim the resurrected Lord. But suddenly the Lord does something completely unexpected. He shows Peter a vision and tells him to eat unclean food. Peter protests, but the Lord tells him, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean," (Acts 10:15). Peter is still puzzled by this instruction when three men arrive to ask him to meet with Cornelius, a God-fearing Centurion. Surely the Lord was not going to reach out to unclean Gentiles?! But Peter was open to the Lord's unexpected guidance and saw the Holy Spirit come with power when he reached out to Cornelius and his household.
The third story of the week is with the unlikely evangelist, Dwight L. Moody. Moody was from a very poor family and only had a fifth-grade education. When this shoe salesman first started ministering to street children, he could barely read himself. But this was the man the Lord had chosen to reach millions of people for Jesus Christ. Moody spent the first part of his ministry doing important social work, but the Lord had bigger plans. Christianity Today described his epiphany this way:
While walking down Wall Street, he felt what he described as "a presence and power" as he had never known before, so much that he cried aloud, "Hold Lord, it is enough!" He returned to Chicago with a new vision: preaching the Kingdom of God, not social work, would change the world. He now devoted his immense energies solely to the "evangelization of the world in this generation."
Each of these servants of the Lord had moments when God revealed unexpected plans. Each heard from the Lord differently, but each responded in the same way: with obedience.
How do you feel like the Lord is leading you this week? Sometimes He lays out big plans for us, and other times, He just asks us to take one small step at a time, living faithfully for Him. One thing I know, as Corrie Ten Boom once said, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God!"