Have you ever prayed to know God’s will?
Pete and I are at a crossroads, faced with a decision that will have a major impact on our lives for at least the next few years. As you might expect, we’re asking God to tell us which way we should go. Is this an opportunity—or a distraction? Do we run toward it or run away?
I expect that most Christians have prayed to know God’s will. After all, it’s clear in Scripture that God wants us to ask, and then obey what He tells us. David had a long string of successful battles, but He always inquired of the Lord when facing a new situation. Sometimes God gave him an expected strategy, while other times He had a surprise in mind. But no matter how skilled a warrior he became, David always took time to ask.
You can be sure that, like David, Pete and I are praying a lot. We’ve been in similar situations before, and I thought I understood the routine. We ask God for direction. He speaks through His word. Then some unexpected events point in the same direction. Friends call with “a word from the Lord”—another confirmation. And finally, we experience a sense of peace as we act in obedience.
Well, that’s not at all what’s happening this time.
Pete and I both read our Bibles nearly every day. While the Holy Spirit is speaking to us as we read, nothing relates at all to our pending decision. Our circumstances are the same; nothing has changed that seems mysteriously significant. Moreover, not one person has called to tell us what God is thinking.
Rather, we both have a strong impression that God wants to speak directly to us—not through circumstances or other people, but rather in that still, small voice that’s often so hard to hear. You know how effective a quiet voice can be when you’re trying to get a boisterous child to listen to you? They have to stop making so much noise to hear what you have to say, and they are curious enough that it works. That’s exactly what God is doing with us. He’s whispering.
Facing such an important decision, we’d love to have a postcard from God—or at least a tweet. Instead, we have to stop, pray, and listen very, very carefully.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, God’s primary desire is relationship with us. If he just sent a message, we wouldn’t need to go directly to Him—and from my experience, I know I probably wouldn’t bother. Sad, but true. But by speaking softly, God is drawing us to Himself, and that is so much better than a letter or a text.
Circumstances, Bible verses, and the opinions of advisors and friends are all ways God confirms what He has already told us. They are no substitute, however, for personal time with God. That’s why Pete and I are saying, as Samuel did so many years ago, “Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.”
How does God speak to you?