Are you listening?

198499_10150095808617109_692232108_6580899_6740274_nYesterday I posted a blog about how important it is to listen to others, especially if we want to have any kind of lasting impact on their lives. Today I want to emphasize the importance of listening and even seeking the will of God in our lives.

Sadly, it is necessary to qualify this blog by saying, I don’t hear small, still voices and as far as I can remember God has not appeared to me in a vision or dream. What I do believe is that God works through external circumstances and situations to help me better understand my course and direction in life. James Dobson said it better than I can, “I get down on my knees and say, ‘Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, and I am listening. Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines I pick up and read, and through circumstances.”

Lately I have been struggling with some very hard decisions – decisions that involve service and commitment to others. If I follow my heart (and lessons I am receiving through friends, books, magazines I pick up and through circumstances), I know that a certain level of discomfort, criticism and opposition will follow.

Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t even want to pray about the outcomes because you already have a pretty good idea what the answer is going to be? If I ask God what to do he may ask me to go into battle with only 300 men, or to travel to Ninevah and call those people to repentance. In other words, God may ask me to do the thing I really DON’T want to do.

I spent a lot of my life in blissful ignorance. I did those things I thought were right (along with a lot of things I just did for my own selfish reasons). I don’t recall getting clear indications of which path to take, or what was the best course of action for my life. I am sure that my lack of clarity had a lot to do with my pitiful prayer life, but life was easier then.

Today I find myself at a very difficult crossroads. I almost long for the days of willful ignorance. I feel like Paul longing to go into Asia, but being hindered by the Spirit (Acts 16:6). I have my own Macedonia with those saying, “Come over and help us…” (16:9). I am certain that I am not alone in these feelings. I would love to hear from some others on this topic. How do you handle situations where you know what is needed, but every fiber of your being wants to resist the call of God?

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