Hearing from God should be just like sailing. How many of you row instead of sail? Unlike rowing a boat that relies on our own strength, sailing is near effortless. God wants us to hear him effortlessly so that our soul will live. “Give ear and come to me” (Isaiah 55:3).
You can learn to hear God’s Spirit speak. In terms of our metaphor of rowing and sailing, you can learn to hear God’s voice conversationally by aligning your sail to catch the Holy Spirit’s wind. Things can then happen in our life that would otherwise not be possible by our “rowing” our way to hearing Him.
Learning how God speaks to us, however, takes practice and guidance, just like learning how to sail. We need to learn to focus, listen, discern and respond. You may need some help with quieting your mind. For some of us, our minds go a mile a minute. Crazy-busy thoughts infiltrate our minds not letting us have a moment’s peace. We are all over-scheduled, over-committed and over-extended. This makes it difficult to hear God’s still quiet voice above the noise level.
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You will recall from Part 1 of our story; my wife Peggy got this brilliant notion it would be fun to tune into hearing God tell us where to go. “Let’s see if we can get the same number exit as a way of hearing in unity,” Peggy said. It was an exercise in spontaneous flow, stretching, listening, trusting, pressing in and practicing hearing Papa God, not just on big things, but also the small, even unorthodox things. He was teaching me to listen, to trust, to obey and to have fun.
We still had miles to drive and plenty of time to sit and wonder what would be in store for us at exit 298. As each exit passed, my anticipation built. And then suddenly I sat straight up from my reclining position. “Look!” Exit 289, Montezuma’s Castle, was one of our planned vacation stops. Remember?” Exit 289 was the other exit number I heard after recanting 298. Perhaps this was not a coincidence. Encouraged, I adjusted my seat forward and said, “On to exit 298.”
We were committed to taking Exit 298 despite my questioning and doubts. Signs for exit 298 began to come into sight, and we burst out in a big shout!
Exit 298 was absolutely THEE correct exit for Sedona.
For those of you who are skeptical, remember, we did not beforehand know which exit to take. Without either a global positioning system (GPS) or roadmap, we had to tune into God’s Positioning Spirit to get where we were going.
God showed up despite my doubts. How incredible is that!? Jeremiah 29:11 says that it was not my plans but his. “I have it all planned out. Plans to take care of you, not abandon you.” And God did hear and answer. “You will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear your voice and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12). Not only did he listen, but he also acted on our desires to hear him and guide us. Jeremiah 29:13 says “When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” How cool is that!? And I surely wasn’t disappointed. Overjoyed and more confident I wanted to go deeper with God; I wanted to continue on our adventure. “Okay God, now where?”
When we exited the highway, Peggy asked – “What are you hearing, right or left?” We both heard left. The song Jesus Take the Wheel took on greater significance. “Every time there is a choice for a turn – let’s ask God,” Peggy said.
Upon approaching a roundabout, we had to make a quick decision to go left, right, or straight. My mind froze momentarily. Initially, I heard “go left,” but quickly changed it to “go straight” as that seemed the most logical considering that traffic flow around the circle was mostly going in that direction. Peggy heard God say, “turn left.” So, in unity, we turned left.
The left turn directed us into a lovely neighborhood. Each home was a unique adobe style home with classic red ceramic tile roofs, shades of green and brown and set against red rock cliffs. It was absolutely beautiful.
When leaving the neighborhood, we came to an intersection. Straight ahead and across the highway about one mile, sitting at the base of a 1,500-foot cliff surrounded by massive pieces of red sandstone, was the Chapel of the Holy Cross, another spot on our list.
Were it my plan, going straight would have been the most obvious choice, a more direct route to the town of Sedona.
Although, had we not made the left turn and all subsequent turns yielding to God’s Positioning Spirit (GPS), we would have missed seeing Chapel of the Holy Cross. God is such a loving and kind Father to have taken us there.
How often do we make plans that are not His? How often do we not consult God and charge ahead with our own plans? How often do we miss out on what God wants to reveal to us on the off-roads because we are not listening to His voice?
When we trust the Lord completely without regard for preconceived notions and plans and rely on Him to guide us, He will lead us in every decision we make; He will lead us wherever we go (Proverbs 16:9). Further, intimacy with God opens the door to hear Him. Whether we turn to the right or to the left, our ears will hear His voice saying, “this is the way” (Isaiah 30:21).
God has a wonderful plan for you. Perhaps it is a road that you might not have taken? How will you make sure that you are on the right path? Once you are on that path, how will you stay on it? The Lord longs to be gracious to you (Isaiah 30:18). He longs to show loving-kindness to you and bless you. So, don’t rush off in your own direction. Ask God about it first.
Continue reading “Part 3 Adventures in Flowing in God”
Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 1
by Bill Hutzel & Peggy Castorri-Hutzel
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