A time to ask and a time to listen
Sometimes life is so difficult we can barely keep it together.
All of us have faced serious trials — and for those who are Christians, we have appreciated the comfort and peace of God’s presence.
As wonderful as this is, we are still often left with unanswered questions and painful wounds that live in the secret depths of our soul.
Yes, we have friends and family members who try to encourage us and we listen to suggestions that try to explain why things happen, but in the back of our mind, we are reminded we actually understand very little.
How many times have we heard that listening to God is not easy? It is often difficult to differentiate between what he is saying and our own thoughts.
I find it interesting when our life is rolling along without any problems, we do not seem to be concerned with his advice or suggestions.
But when we are facing a serious crisis and desperately crying out for answers, we are begging for him to intervene.
Even though the Bible is filled with scriptures encouraging us to listen for his voice, we discover he is not like a radio where we can just turn the knob and hear him explain why this is happening.
So, why are we still in the dark about certain events? It could be we are forgetting some important principals within the context of our natural and spiritual reality.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”
To many people, this brings up an uncertainty about how to seek God — and if we are, are we doing it correctly?
Rest assured dear brother and sister, it’s normal to feel perplexed and fainthearted when we are knocked off our feet. We are made of flesh and blood and most of our considerations are based on our emotions.
Humans have amazing mental capabilities but are also vulnerable when it comes to being led by their feelings which is usually not a help in our time of need.
In order for any of us to comprehend what God is saying, we are reminded in the first chapter of Romans that as a part of our born-again experience, our mind must also be renewed and transformed into his way of knowing and understanding.
We no longer depend on our reasoning but learn to trust his plans for us.
As followers of Christ, many of us will spend the rest of our lives trying to listen and discern the will of God for our life and for situations all around us.
The extent of our success will depend on how serious we are about it. Whatever the level of interest, we can agree if we desire to hear from the Lord it would be wise to place this subject up at the top of our priority list.
I keep prayer journals and believe we can simply ask God to reveal what he wants us to do in order that we might know his will.
Of course, there is more to hearing God’s voice than just asking him to make it happen — and by the way, miracles do not always happen automatically. It’s each individual’s responsibility to pray and ask forgiveness every day so we can live holy before him. Then, we must have patience as we wait for him to respond.
The Lord promises in Jeremiah 33, “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not,” but it will take perseverance, desire and determination to develop this level of self-discipline and spiritual awareness.
When we are troubled about something we should not be intimidated or afraid to ask for clarification. There are times when we might need to fast and spend some time away from everyone so we can hear the Lord more clearly.
It’s good to also remember God has infinite power and we should not limit his abilities. Yes, he is compassionate about a failing air-conditioner, but He is more concerned about molding us into his image and for us demonstrating his character.
Prayer is not just a one-sided conversation where we do all the asking but rather a beautiful part of our intimate relationship where God freely speaks and intervenes.
Afterall, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
Dr. Billy Holland is a Christian minister, author and community outreach chaplain. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.