Just Be Quiet and Listen
I’m running on the treadmill, asking the Lord to help me with this month’s article and I heard a very peaceful, “Sshh just be quiet.” The following points flooded to mind: It is an intentional practice to learn when to speak and what to say. Indeed, the main difficulty is eliminating the many distractions that are constant and rapid in our over stimulated world. It’s likely one of the most challenging practices to attain when striving to live a peaceful, hopeful, God focused life.
Isaiah 55:8-9 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
It is imperative that we take time to stop before we speak even if the pause is a few seconds or a few days. Case and point, if your words have not been tested and approved by God, then its best to stay silent. Romans 12:2 references that we need to test everything against God’s will, even our opinion because the human mind is constantly trying to conform to the worldly philosophies as opposed to the Word of God.
Here is a personal example. In the Fall I was faced with a decision and consulted family and friends. For the most part, the consensus was unanimous amongst them because it made logical sense based on geography. I moved forward with the decision, but it felt wrong to me. Why? I already heard the voice of God on the matter, but the voice of others dominated the decision. Satan’s Ace of Cards called doubt. Doubt is that moment when against all odds you say, “Was that really God?” The next logical question is, how do you know you heard from God? I’m glad you asked.
During this time I was on my 3rd week of intimate prayer sessions in my home. Worship, devotions, on my face praying, journaling, and tranquil silence. I had been asking God for direction and I heard very clearly what I was supposed to do. I had a goose bump moment. Every hair on my neck and arms stood up, my heart was racing and there was an overwhelming presence and conviction deep within me that it was God telling me what to do. A moment so deep from the secret place, it was never shared with anyone because that’s the entire premise of practicing this form of worship; it’s to hear God without distraction.
The end result was regret. There are many days I think back to a lost opportunity, a lost possibility, a lost decision because I allowed the voice of others to take the place of God. In my case, regret is faced with repentance and if only. I had an uncomfortable conversation with God. It went like this, “Why do you ask me to lead knowing that my name is I AM, and that I am the Shepherd. Why do you take our treasured experiences and then abandon them to the voice of others when it goes against all odds. Did you ever consider that I was using you to teach others how to discern my voice? My children forget that I have the capacity to speak to dead things. Even my children can be dead at times. Rebekah, who do you trust?”
My conclusion is twofold: First, in every decision go before God ahead of anyone else. Practice intimate silence with God because spiritual growth comes out of solitude. It is in the secret place of our heart and home where covenants are made with God. In these sacred places it will be the tool to build against the persuasion of others. It’s also the reason God asks in Provers 3:5 to trust Him with our entire heart.
Second, test every opinion and directive against the voice and will of God. Yes, even if it comes from the most sincere and loving person. Isaiah 55:8-9 is the foundation for this secondary point because God is ultimately saying, I am the only one who can purpose and destine your life; however, it is by free will that we can change the trajectory. I believe my situation is a case of unnecessary delay. So, when I say that I have regret do I believe that God’s mercy and grace will not prevail? Not at all, because He is faithful.
I simply believe that my personal lesson is that I actually discerned correctly but responded disobediently. I leave you with this, God is your best compass.