Hearing God’s voice is more about deepening relationship than completed tasks. Some people I admire for their intimate walk with God tell me that the voice that was once so clear actually becomes softer over time. Sometimes it feels like the sound of silence. When they lean in, waiting for specific direction, all they hear is “Closer.”
Last year the mountain ash tree outside my window bore no fruit. This year the branches bend low under the weight of thousands of berries. In the winter, when nothing grows here in the Canadian Rockies, birds will feast on them. Abundant provision now for sustenance later.
My prayer for you today:
Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope,
fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy
and perfect peace
as you trust in him.
And may the power of the Holy Spirit
continually surround your life
with his super-abundance
until you radiate with hope!
(Romans 15:13 TPT)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of rules about food and drink,
but is in the realm of the Holy Spirit,
filled with righteousness,
(Romans 14:17 TPT)
Can I be honest? This has not been an easy year.
I sat down this week to write a simple blog entry meant to comfort and encourage others. Twelve hours later I had pages of notes, a list of bigger questions and the certainty I didn’t know what I was talking about. In my spirit, yes, but deep down in my soul where mind, will, and emotions are squabbling with each other? Not really. I understand what the psalmist meant when he wrote “Unite my heart to fear your name.”
I’m the one who has needed comfort and encouragement lately. If I stop to look at the measurable, quantifiable, reproducible, evidence-based facts as recorded by physical senses I begin to panic. It wouldn’t take much of a straw to bring me to child-like tears today.
But as usual, if I stop catastrophizing long enough to listen and acknowledge the greater reality of Spirit and Truth, I know the Holy Spirit is whispering comfort in my ear.
He sends songs in the night.
For two nights this week two lines from different songs have been playing on repeat in my dreams. The first line is from an old 70’s song, Feel the Love, by Lovesong:
Feel the love the Son of God can bring/ By believing… by receiving Him./ Feel the love.
The second is from It’s Going to Be All Right by Sara Groves:
I have not come here to offer you clichés.
He sends friends who have walked this road before.
Wonderful friends share their failures and victories and questions with me. Some have overcome cancer more than once. Some have been through natural disasters and reconstruction. Some have known the pain of feeling like they don’t fit in anywhere. Some have known the pain of betrayal or promises yet unfulfilled. All have known the sorrow of disappointment with oneself. Some are still in the middle of giant unsettled messes right now, and yet they take time to share the comfort they have known.
He sends family and neighbours.
Some traveled miles on horrid winter roads to bring cheer and a vegetable juicer. Some phone late at night when they know I will still be up to check on me or invite me for coffee. Some set the little grandkids up on the cell phone so I can share in their excitement over new dolls and video games and silly faces. The older grandkids text to talk about music and school projects and hopes and dreams or to share photos. My adopted family help by offering coolers when the fridge quits working, jugs of water when the pipes freeze, tools when the digital piano goes silent, patient expertise when the computer freezes, wood for the fireplace, shovels when the car gets stuck and the sidewalks disappear in the snow, and muscles and engineering skills when the retaining wall crashes on the driveway.
He sends podcasts and random Facebook posts.
Oh, how I appreciate the banquet of good teaching and music shared by people who make an effort to reach out beyond the four walls of their gatherings or dining rooms or vans. I love encouraging posts by sincere blogging and Facebook and Twitter friends. I love reading their insights, visions, and dreams — and even jokes. Especially the jokes.
Most of all he sends a more sure word recorded in the Bible.
I read these words given through Paul who was honest about the hardships of his journey. It was not an easy road for him.
All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.
He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.
And just as we experience the abundance of Christ’s own sufferings, even more of God’s comfort will cascade upon us through our union with Christ.
If troubles weigh us down, that just means that we will receive even more comfort to pass on to you for your deliverance! For the comfort pouring into us empowers us to bring comfort to you. And with this comfort upholding you, you can endure victoriously the same suffering that we experience.
Now our hope for you is unshakable, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings you will also share in God’s comforting strength.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-7 The Passion Translation)
If I’m not posting a lot lately it’s because I’m resting and soaking up comfort I need right now.
I’ll share with you later. I will get there.
Talk to you soon.
Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.
(from Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart by George Croly)
“The Spirit of truth will come and guide you in all truth. He will not speak His own words to you; He will speak what He hears, revealing to you the things to come and bringing glory to Me. The Spirit has unlimited access to Me, to all that I possess and know, just as everything the Father has is Mine. That is the reason I am confident He will care for My own and reveal the path to you.” -Jesus
(John 16:13-15 The Voice)
For people who have been deceived in the past, the real challenge is to not dismiss the truth for fear of being deceived again. Until we learn to trust the voice of the One who loves us perfectly, the deceiver is still winning.
An old song came to mind as I watched the sunset from my deck last night.
Up on the mountain
My Lord spoke.
Out of his mouth came
fire and smoke.
I look around me.
It look so fine,
I ask the Lord,
‘Is all this mine?’
Every time I feel the Spirit
moving in my heart
I will pray.
Yes, every time I feel the Spirit
moving in my heart I will pray.