Thursday, November 3, 2011

When Hearing God's Voice is Foolishness

The world can make you feel like a fool. It's not unexpected, what with Christ's economy turning everything on its head--the last becoming first, weakness becoming strength, slavery to Him becoming freedom, going down in submission becoming the way up.

It's the unexpected dismissals from other Christians that make me pull the covers up over my head in defeat, feel like the fool the world already tells me that I am.

Cluck your tongue in a what-did-she-expect tone; shake your head in disbelief. No, I still haven't learned.

I'm still foolish enough to believe one person can make a difference. Still foolish enough to believe if God reveals to me a vision that I can rally fellow soldiers to action, that others will be convicted as well if only I will offer up myself in sacrifice to do my part.

I'm still foolish enough to believe I was saved by grace not to warm a pew and merely enjoy the fruits of warm fellowship but to serve Him with my everything, even if that everything takes me into the ripe fields of labor and away from the comfort of fellowship.

Foolish. Me.

Sure, my rational mind tries to wave its hands to disperse the gloom, to say it's really not foolishness, that the only other option is to have a heart seared and unresponsive to God. But my hurt heart speaks otherwise.

* * *

This morning began with the trumpet blast of my alarm piercing through the lulling background rhythm of gentle rain dripping from the eaves. My heart fell in disappointment. There would be no prayer walking this morning.

Bleary eyed and yesterday evening's discouragement swallowing me again, I spoke aloud in sighs. "I'm thankful for the rain, Father. Please know I'm thankful. I just really needed this time with you today."

The cloudy darkness wasn't just outside. It quilted my head and shoulders, heavier than the fleece blanket I pulled back over my head. God had sent the rain at this exact time, knowing my prayers for others would have been out of obedience only and of a divided heart that was not focused solely on the salvation of my neighbors. He's wise like that and just took me out of the equation.

Here on this blog, I might have seemed a bit distant lately, but it's not because God and I have been having a long distance relationship. For the past several months, my heart has been heavy over three major decisions, the kind of agonizing choices that consume my thoughts from sunup to sundown, that lead me to seek His will in earnest because I want to do what He wants, not what I want.

I don't want to screw up when I only get one shot at this life.

In only one area of the three did I feel He was providing a clear answer. Others came to me unprompted, reiterating concerns God had already lay on my heart. It got to where it seemed God had lined up an entire parade of gentle and not-so-gentle nudges, all just for me as a reminder I had heard His voice correctly and that He wasn't going to let this go until I made a move to obey.

I've prayed about it, waiting patiently, and seeking to put into practice what I've learned from the prophet Nehemiah who waited four months from the time God put a mission on his heart to when he first had the opportunity to share that mission with the king. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he waited some more, surveying the situation before speaking it aloud to enlist help.

The mission God gave him was miraculously fulfilled in 52 days because others believed in it, too, and literally put their necks on the line to fulfill it. Perhaps my discouragement is that I foolishly expected a smooth path, a quick path, for my vision to be as contagious as was Nehemiah's instead of it being stuck on the back burner for another nine months like in politics when something is sent to "committee" so it can wither and die there.

This is why Christians don't bother in the first place. This is why Christians church hop.

Both are wrong responses, I'm certain. But in this moment, I do understand these reactions. They're easier than silently sitting by in frustration when you can't just do it all yourself, when you know that you know that you know God spoke to you but aren't the Holy Spirit to convict others' souls towards action.

I can't give you a well-considered, insightful conclusion to leave you tapping your chin.

I just don't know the answer.

And so I sit, pray, and wait again.


  1. I'm sorry for the heaviness...I go there too, from time to time. And like you, I'm thankful for the gray, foggy days that usher me in to God's Presence. It's so true that often times the answers to prayer don't come easily or painlessly. I guess in the end it all works together to shape us, as painful as that may be. The big picture sometimes is viewed through many small ones...

  2. I saw a video from Voice of the Martyr's today about a Christian woman in China who spent 6 years in prison for refusing to denounce Christ and her fellow believers. She never cracked. I felt so inspired in my wait. I too am waiting for God to transform my church and I will pray that prayer until He asks me to stop.

  3. We all need revival--personal, corporate in the body, nationally, and our entire world. We never stop praying.