By Kaleigh Ward
Sometimes, when I have my morning devotionals, God speaks loudly and clearly to my heart. He brings me to humble tears or exuberant dancing or quiet wonder. I sit in the stillness, knowing He is God, or I write furiously in my journal, filling up page after page with everything I am thinking and feeling. These times tend to make for some of my favorite blog posts.
But not every morning spent with God brings that exciting flurry of emotion.
A few days ago, I wanted to practice hearing from God. I sat down with my Bible and my journal and began asking Him a few specific questions. I wrote my questions out, expectant of His response. I sat very still and very quietly and just listened. And then, in my waiting, …
I didn’t hear anything. No scripture references popped into my head. No quiet whispers of hope and love. No lines from old hymns. Not even a warm and fuzzy feeling. Just emptiness.
I tried again, with new questions. I tried abandoning the question thing all together and just asked Him to say something, anything, to let me know He was there.
I grew frenzied.
God, why won’t you talk to me? Can’t you hear me? Don’t you love me? I thought You loved having conversations with your daughter! Well, I’m here and I’m listening and I really, really need a reassurance of Your presence right now…
I grew angry.
God, I signed up for this race because I thought it would allow me to experience more of You and now I’m just feeling abandoned. Where are You? Don’t You see that I need You now more than ever? I’m scared of leaving. I’m afraid of the heartache and the pain. God, I can’t do this alone and if You won’t talk to me, I don’t want to do the race at all!
I got up from my quiet time angry and hurt and scared. I pouted all day long because God had not talked to me when and how I thought He would.
Over the next few days, through a variety of voices in my life, God began to show me that I could not put my faith in His activity– when and how He worked– but instead, I must put my faith in His identity, trusting His presence whether or not I saw or felt it. Furthermore, I felt convicted of my bossy attitude, in which Idemanded He speak in the way I wanted at the time I wanted.
I repented of my attitude and the ways in which I lashed out at Him in my fear and anger.
Yesterday, during my morning devotional, I again experienced quiet from God. Nothing I read in His Word spoke to me, nothing led me to journal, no new peace washed over my soul. I closed my Bible feeling not much different than when I started.
This time, however, I chose differently. Instead of temper tantrums and demands and pointed fingers and pouty lips, I chose trust and acceptance.
I said something along the lines of, “God, I still trust you to give me my daily bread, a fresh taste of You that will be exactly what I need today. Clearly, that wasn’t in this morning’s quiet time. I didn’t feel You or hear You, but I trust You’re still there. And I’m going to keep my eyes open today to find You in an unexpected moment instead. Help me experience You today, outside of my quiet time. Please walk with me and reveal Yourself to me when and how You choose. I know You have written every day of my life, and I look forward to seeing what You have planned for me today.”
I got up, made my bed, and moved on. Nothing earth shattering had occurred. In fact, not much had happened at all. But I was choosing trust and gratitude anyway.
Several hours later, I found myself with an unexpected hour of free time. I glanced outside at the thermometer, shocked to find it was only 86° despite it being 1:00 in the afternoon on an August day in South Carolina. There was even a breeze! Typically, the heat and humidity are so stifling during this month that no one can stand to be outside for more than a few minutes, so this was truly a miracle in my book.
I grabbed my hammock and an old CS Lewis favorite and headed down to my family’s pond. Within minutes, I was swaying in the breeze with a book in my lap. I looked up at the tree limbs and listened to the birds and the insects chirping their own little worship songs.
There, in that moment, I found God. He did not speak or write me a message in the clouds, but that moment was a gift from Him– from the gentle wind to the low temperatures to the unexpected free time to the convenient hammock to the old classic in my hands.
He was loving on me, not in the way I had expected Him to, through a Bible verse or revelation during my morning quiet time, but in a way He had uniquely designed for me on this day.
If I had spent all day pouting because He didn’t speak when and how I wanted Him to, I would have completely missed the moment He had personally designed and gift-wrapped.
I gained far more during that hour than even the peace and enjoyment of the moment. I learned that God is much bigger than the box I put Him in. I learned that He doesn’t just want to speak to me during His allotted hour in the morning but wants to be a part of the details in my day. I learned that He is creative and speaks in more ways than one. I learned that He designs gifts just for me.
I learned that if I trust Him and look with my eyes and heart wide open, I may just find Him in the middle of the day, in a hammock, under the covering of some tree branches, waiting for me to join Him there.
What about you? Have you grown frustrated because you haven’t heard God speaking to you in the way you thought He might? Don’t grow angry and miss the very moment in which He has planned to love on you intimately and personally. He speaks. In a thousand different ways, He speaks, and He wants to speak to you. Ask Him for open ears to hear it when He does. And when the moment arrives, soak it in. Thank Him. Love Him… for He is God, and He is Good.
My good friend Kaleigh is preparing to go on The World Race, a mission trip to 11 countries in 11 months, next month. Check back for updates on her preparations, as well as updates from around the world over the next year! Follow Kaleigh’s World Race Blog. — Tiffany