29 March 2011

Can you hear me now?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we hear God's voice. How do we hear when He is asking us to do something specific or telling us not to do something else? Obviously, Scripture is full of God speaking to us and although we may all-too-often (knowingly or unknowingly) tweak God's perfect Words to fit our own liking or limited understanding, it is also true that most of God's desire for our lives is clear and easy to understand in His Word. We have no shortage of commands to obey or warnings to heed. But, although I've walked with Jesus a long time and heard Him speak to me so many times in different ways, I still find myself confused sometimes. Sometimes I so clearly hear and understand the path He wants me to take. Other times, it is all muddled and it's like we have a bad connection and it's full of static.

I believe there are times when God is silent or when He speaks more softly to sift my heart and make me draw a little closer to Him and strain just a little harder to hear what He's saying. But, I also believe that most likely the problem with the reception has more to do with me the receiver than it does with the Sender! And why are there certain areas in my life where I hear Him clearly and other areas where I have repeatedly misinterpreted His voice or so obviously (in hindsight) made up my own thoughts and yet sincerely believed they were His thoughts? This is frustrating to me. It makes me doubt myself, doubt God, doubt that I can hear His voice at all, and doubt whether I should seek His purpose about a specific issue or question. I'm incredibly grateful that not only is God completely sovereign, but also that I believe it enough to find the rest and beauty in that truth. Therefore, even in my confusion over hearing His voice regarding a matter, I am confident that His plan cannot be thwarted. He will fulfill His purpose for me. I have plans in my heart but His purpose prevails. Yes, this brings me great peace and confidence in my God! But! I also really want to be obedient. I want to treat every decision as a spiritual decision. I don't want to blindly walk into something crossing my fingers or assuming that God will just go along with my plan. If my plan brings pain or temptation or struggle, I want to know if it's just because I was being stupid in walking into something that wasn't wise, discipline for disobedience, or merely just part of the refining process which comes even when we are walking in obedience. So this is why it matters to me that I learn to hear God's voice clearly. That I put myself in the best position for that to happen. I have to remember that God reveals Himself. That is a huge part of who He is. His nature. He is not hiding from me. Wooing me, yes, but not hiding Himself or His will from me. He also desires that I be like Him. He desires that I obey Him. He desires that my life is best used up for His glory every day. He desires to speak to me. He desires purity in me. Perhaps that is why He lets these questions bother me.

He knows that as I ask the questions and struggle with hearing Him that I'll discover sin that clogs my ears. He'll open my eyes to see places where I have been deceived. He'll show me where I have made idols. I guess sometimes I don't really want to hear what He has to say or want to see the sin and lies I've been believing and living. It's because I doubt God's goodness is what it is. I'm only afraid of what He might say about something because I don't always truly believe that His plans for me are good, that obedience - no matter the cost - is always better and for my good. I don't always believe that everything I "give up" is nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Him. Oh, but I want to believe that! Even now as I write, God is sweetly talking to me, reminding me that I can hear Him. What an incredible marvelous thing! Oh God, make me brave enough to look at my heart with your eyes, clear out the static, and tune my heart to hear You when You speak because I can trust You. You are good, You are good, You are good, You are...