It's true that God can use our circumstances to "steer" us in the right direction. But being somewhat over-analytical, I find myself falling into the trap of picking apart the events of life and wondering if that was the sign, if that was the wake-up call, if that was the turning point I ignored. Or to quote the illustrious philosopher Bugs Bunny, "I knew I should have taken that left turn in Albuquerque!"
I believe part of the problem I face is trying to zero in on what God is trying to tell me through the circumstances. Consider these two verses from the book of Acts:
- Acts 9:7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
- Acts 22:9 And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me.
But what seems like an apparent contradiction actually sums up the way I feel at times. I know my Greek scholar colleagues could break it down in far more technical detail, but in Acts 9, the men heard the sound of a voice, but in Acts 22, they didn't hear what the voice was saying. Have you ever heard people talking, but couldn't make out what they were saying? You heard the words, but couldn't discern the meaning. If you're a parent, you've probably exclaimed, "Didn't you hear a word I said?" Yeah, mom and dad, sound waves entered my ears, vibrated, and created the sensation of hearing. But I was tuned out at the time.
Last night, I was at a meeting and at several points, I felt like I was "hearing a voice" of direction for ministry. But like the men traveling with Paul, I couldn't seem to zero in on what the voice was saying. It wasn't anything weird like, "go down the road and buy pepperoni pizza for the board." (come to think of it, maybe the chairman was whispering to me to do that!). I told my wife about it and she asked (like she does so many times when I talk about life strategy), "So what are you going to do about it?" And my reply was something like, "I don't know...I'm still missing some pieces." I'm hearing the voice, but there are some pretty huge gaps in my understanding of what the voice is telling me.
So....what am I going to do about it? In my younger days, I would have said, "Come on honey, I believe God is telling me to move to the Yukon. Let's list the house, pack up the U-Haul, and head north to Alaska. Yeah, we're going north, the rush is on." But now I'm a little more cautious. I sense and even desire a new adventure in faith, but I want to make sure that it's God directing the adventure. I don't want to be the guy who is asked later, "Were you sent, or did you just went?"
I realize this post doesn't have a lot of answers. If you are looking for a bullet list of pointers, just google "how to find God's will for your life" and you'll find a plethora of advice (I mean that sincerely...there is a lot of helpful info out there). But sometimes, we just need to be honest with our questions.
Hmmmm..I think God is trying to tell me something. What is it?