So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” Exodus 3:3
Use me. Tell me. Two short, but earnest requests.
In the past, I felt it necessary to actually hear God talk to me, the way I talk to my husband or to a friend, in order to know what He wanted from me and for me. I began praying that God would tell me the names of friends and family, even strangers, who had a need — prayer, a meal, a note, anything that was within my power to meet. I was expecting to have some sort of “burning bush moment,” and although that has yet to happen, I am not without hope.
However, in my desperate attempts to “hear” God speak to me, I was missing all the times He WAS speaking to me. I started to realize that when I drive down the road and someone’s name popped into my head, the Holy Spirit was telling me to reach out to that person. When I wake up in the middle of the night with someone’s name on the tip of my tongue, again, that is God speaking to me and answering my prayer to be used by Him to help others.
Many of you know my story about waiting in the shower to experience God speaking to me like He did to a friend a few years before. (Yep, I was naked as a jaybird, too.) Needless to say, I did not hear Him that night, but have since come to realize that God does speak to me, constantly, just not in an audible voice. As I began to pray and read my Bible consistently, really diving in and dissecting Scripture, verse by verse, I sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence like never before. Believers know that nothing is left to chance or just happens; God controls everything because He is sovereign.
So why do act so surprised when something we can’t explains suddenly occurs to us, attributing it to luck or coincidence? Claiming these moments as random thoughts, we miss the many times throughout the day that our Heavenly Father is actually speaking to us, not just to use us for His glory but to also reassure and comfort us as His children.
Since I have begun to act on what I once perceived as “out of the blue” thoughts, people continually ask me how I became aware of their need. Once again, I sought God and told Him I wanted to grow closer to Him by living in His will everyday, and I specifically asked Him to use me to encourage the Church, Believers in Christ far and near. Like often stated, “Be careful what you wish for,” (or pray for).
This year has been one for the books. I have been to funerals of close friends and family and learned of numerous women in our community who have had miscarriages or are unable to conceive altogether. Four people in my circle have been diagnosed with cancer, and a close family member suffered job loss — times filled with heartache and fear.
To say that these situations make my own heart heavy is an understatement. When faced with a big decision or a difficult situation, most of us usually respond in two ways: fight or flight. Well, I am a fight kinda girl — duh — I spring into action. When I hear that someone is in need, I wonder what I can do to help fix the problem, or at least make it more bearable. I immediately focus on the tangible, instead of bowing my head in a prayer of supplication and thanksgiving, trusting that God is sovereign and all things are in His control. Remember, regardless of what is happening in our lives here on earth, He is NOT in Heaven pacing and ringing His hands!
My knee-jerk reaction to a problem: I GOT THIS! I mean, I can make a pretty good peach cobbler, but did I make heaven and earth? No! Psalms 121:2 says, “My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth.” Instead of crying out to the Creator, asking for HIS help, asking for HIS will to be done, I make to-do lists and carry on. Doesn’t the Enemy know just how to attack us?
As I draw nearer to the Lord, really feeling His presence, Satan distracts me and keeps me from ministering God’s way. When bad news reaches me, I press hurriedly toward the front lines, leaving the Lord behind. Moreover, I ignore other areas that need physical and spiritual reinforcement because my call is spiritually skewed and sometimes self-serving. Sorry, sweet child of mind, I do not have time to read you a story because Momma needs to get this post out so she can make a huge difference in her readers’ lives. . .
I believe God knows all and is in total control, that He has a plan and can do more than we can ever imagine, yet my actions belie this. While recently watching AD the Bible Continued, I saw a scene where the disciples discuss how they are going to flee the city after Jesus’ crucifixion, and I thought, how crazy was that! Seriously, Peter, you were with the Son of God for three years, and you still wonder if he is going to rise again from the dead?
But then I felt a twinge in my heart, for I knew the Holy Spirit was saying to me, “Seriously, Laura, you look to yourself to fix everything instead of relying on Me. Don’t you believe that if I have power over sin and death that I am able to deliver you or your loved ones out of a tough situation?” Perhaps the Lord doesn’t speak to you that way, but if you sincerely open yourself up to commune with Him, He will make Himself and His will known to you somehow.
“When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.” James 4:8
Although I often jest that I would love for God to talk to me from a burning bush like He did to Moses so it would be much easier to make decisions or to understand my role during this season of life, it would probably terrify me. I must honestly ask myself, if I heard my name called out of flames, would I react like Moses? Would I slow down enough, and “ turn aside” to hear, to really listen? Or would I go on about completing my tasks, “tending my sheep,” too busy to bother with the extraordinary, the miraculous?
Moreover, am I truly willing and ready to hear God tell me to follow Him in such an incredible way? God was, after all, telling Moses that He wanted him to go before Pharaoh to demand release of the Hebrew slaves and then lead them out of Egypt into the Promised Land — an extremely tall order, even for Moses! Hmm. . .
We cannot fix every problem in the world; nor is it our job to do so. Overwhelmed with grief and pain, it is often easier to shut ourselves off, convinced that there’s no point in showing concern by even the most simple ways — a card, a call, a hug or a smile. But God uses us to bless others in His name. We are His spokespersons, as in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “We are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” Sometimes that hug I so desperately want from God, comes in the form of my daughter telling me, “You are the best momma.” When I feel completely defeated and doubt that I am on the right path, a card received from a sister in Christ reminds me that God is near, practically talking directly to me.
God communicates to us in a variety of ways, but primarily through His Word, the Bible. Moses didn’t have the Bible, but we do, and there is no substitute for reading it and meditating upon it to know who God is and what He desires of us. Sure, God also uses the words and actions of His children, brothers and sisters in Christ, to convey His messages, and that’s important to remember. In addition, Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19:1-4 tells us that God speaks through nature, His creation, which is all around us. Sometimes I just need to pause, open my eyes, ears and heart to see and hear God’s voice. No “burning bush moment” required.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4