Monday, May 2, 2011

I heard His voice

Well, here it is, my 300th post. In my mind it was going to have fanfare, it was going to be a big deal. I had big plans, and wanted it to really stand out. I thought first of doing it exactly on the 3 year anniversary of the blog, which was the 17th of April. But I didn't want to rush and write posts just for the sake of it, so the anniversary came and went without note. Then I thought to myself, "Well, if I hit the same month..." but here we are 2 days into May, and I missed that idea too.

I was going to do my first ever giveaway. I actually thought about doing a 3 part giveaway, I was even going to spend $30 dollars of my own money, because the 3's appealed to me. But now that the day has passed, the urge to empty my wallet has passed. Though I do have a little book I solicited from Unlocking the Bible that I am going to give away soon. As much as I was in for fanfare, it just didn't pan out that way at all.

Instead, here it is, #300, and I just want to share a little story about what God has been doing and speaking in my life.

There has been a lot on my mind lately. I've been asking my God lots of big questions. Among them, but not limited to, "Should I leave my church?" "What is Your call for me in ministry?" "Am I supposed to be working on a book?" An it has been an ongoing seeking, persistent, at times passionate, sometimes out of pain and frustration, other times out of vision and desire. I have sought and sought, and the Lord has remained primarily silent.

Often it has felt like I have been pounding on bricks. Sometimes it feels like my "fists" and other times it feels like me "head." I have begged, cried, demanded (and then repented.) I have wondered and willed, and I have sat at His feet feeling stuck in the mire of uncertainty.

The silence has been so profound, that it had actually begun to drown out my questions. Instead of striving with my wonderings, I began to struggle with God's silence. Was I in sin? Checking my account with a "sharp eye." Had I angered God? Had I just missed Him? A whole other kind of brick wall in my midst to to bang my proverbial head against. I got to the point I began to pray for God to take away my gifts and the desire to use them. I asked Him to make me not want to know the answers to my questions at all. And His silence continued.

The Wednesday before Easter as I drove from work to the kids school to pick them up I got a word picture from the Lord. It was a glimpse, but it brought about a wonderful time of celebratory worship for me in the short drive over. Later that night at midweek service I was able to enter into the worship time better than normal, (it's typically a struggle for me.) As I was worshipping the Lord brought the picture from the afternoon back to me. And then I felt a tap/push on my left shoulder. I looked behind me only to see my friend deep in worship. No one else was even near me. I turned back and began to worship and felt it again. And I knew. It was the Lord, and He was telling me I was supposed to share.

For a long list of reasons this isn't something I wanted to or was even comfortable doing, so I began to argue with God. And I told Him (yes, "told" him, haha) that if He really wanted me to share, I'd need Him to tap me again. So as I stood waiting, I knew He had spoken to me, and I knew He wasn't going to tap me again, so the choice was mine, to obey or not to obey. So after a little more fussing at God, I did what I knew I had to do. So I walked to the back of the church to tell my pastor the word.

It was awful. I fumbled and faltered and it was all I could do just to vomit it out in ugly disconnected chunks. And then I left the pastor there standing in it to work it out. It was all I could do to obey, even if I didn't do it well. And when my pastor didn't seem to share or pass on the word, I spent the rest of service silently fussing with God and grumbling at Him about what I had accomplished other than making an ass of myself. (Sorry, that's the right word.)

I grumbled at the Lord about the point of it for days. And He answered me with... silence. It was a tough week.

Then this past Wednesday, something happened.

On my way to work in the morning, I stopped for coffee. As I pulled into the parking lot I took note of a man sitting nea the curb a little ways away from the coffee shop. He looked sort of homeless, but he was very clean. He seemed sort of lost, and sad. As I walked into the coffee shop I looked his way, wondering about him, and being very drawn to his presence.

I went in and got my coffee and when I came out I looked toward him where he still sat. I got into my car and felt like something was gripping my heart. I knew I was supposed to do something but didn't know what. But the way that the parking lot was structured, I had to drive away from him as I pulled out my car. I had a flash of a thought in my mind, "What if he is wondering if anyone cares. what if he is thinking about killing himself." And then it felt like the thought wasn't even mine, and I said out loud, to the Lord, "I can't God, I'm afraid."

I had to stop my car to wait for passing traffic and I heard the Lord say, "Which are you more afraid of, going to him or disobeying Me?" And without hesitation, I turned my car back up the next aisle and drove toward the man. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but I knew I had to do it.

I pulled up and rolled down my window, "Are you ok?" I asked. He looked up at me surprised, sort of nodded his head and mumbled. I closed my eyes for a moment at a loss about what I was specifically I was supposed to be doing and then I turned and he stood right at my window. "Do you have any change you can spare?" I grabbed a handful of quarters out of my ashtray and began to put them in his hand. A nickel and a few pennies remained in my hand and I said, "You can have these too."

He shook his head and stepped back a little. "It's going to be a good day after all," he said, "God bless you." It was my tuen to mumble, because there was just something in that moment, I knew I had met God. Or rather, God had met me there. He turned and walked away and as I pulled away suddenly I thought "I should give him more cash from my wallet, I should go to Trader Joe's andbuy him food." But as I looked in my rearview mirror, he was walking away toward an arriving bus. I had donewhat God had asked of me, and there wasn't more to be done.

I began to cry as I drove away. It was like a drink of cool water on my very thirsty soul. God had spoken to me. He wasn't silent, His voice had just been small and still. I had been looking for big answers to big questions, and in this moment, the Lord made it very clear to me, He was looking for my obedience in the little things.

I know many who read this will think I'm nuts, but I know it was no ordinary experience. It was deeply profound, and the Lord was teaching me an invaluable listen. Heisn't looking to give me a game plan, or even a map for the long journey. Instead He wants to instruct me in my steps along the way. Sometimes I will undertand, and sometimes I will not, but the importance is in the obedience, not in the understanding of it.

I'm listening differently now, and I know in His time and in His way, He will give me whatever answers He thinks I need.