God Answers Us
God answers us. His response is always intentional, always soaked in love, always trustworthy. When we demonstrate interest in hearing from him, he takes pleasure in making himself known. When he speaks, we can expect that his personal response will likely fall into one of these categories:
Yes. We all like this one, don’t we? Makes me think of the scene in Bruce Almighty when Jim Carey answers prayers. When I was a little girl my Dad captured my attention when he said “Did you know there are some things you can pray for and God will ALWAYS say ‘yes?’” I was elated – I had a bike in mind. I’ll never forget the climactic moment when he said “wisdom.” Oh, so not a bike. Major bummer for a 6 year old. But he was right – there are things that God will always say yes to – the things we pray when we are praying in line with his will. He has made it clear that he delights in offering wisdom (James 1:5) and so when we ask for it – he will say yes. The better we know him, the more we start to take on his characteristics, and with time, we learn to know his heart and pray in line with his will. Sometimes we can’t know if he’ll say yes, but I believe that out of his love for us, he enjoys saying yes when it is in our best interest.
No. Ugh. This is a tough one. It’s hard to hear. Parents of toddlers say this a lot. There are actually days when I think my kids wonder if I say anything else. No, you cannot jump off the fireplace mantle. No, you cannot hit your brother. No, you cannot have dessert before naptime (I am not crazy). No, you cannot eat sand. And when I say no, it is because I love them and would never say yes to something that would hurt them just to see their approving smile for a moment. If we remain in the “toddler” phase of our relationship with God, we’re going to hear this a lot. God has a WAYYYYY bigger perspective than we do. He sees things that we cannot possibly wrap our tiny little brains around, and because of his God-sized perspective, there will be things he says “no” to that make no sense to us at all. Occasionally we get the blessing of seeing why later on, and this can be tremendous trust building; but the reality is that there will be circumstances when we never get the luxury of that insight.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” Declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9
Grow. Otherwise stated; “not yet.” Timing is just as important as the response. Something that can feel like a “no,” might simply be a “not yet.” If we were offered precious gifts before we had developed the maturity to manage them, would we not fail to comprehend their value and be in danger of mishandling their goodness?! A loving God does not give gifts without first considering the strength we have to bear it. Is this not incentive to grow, dearest people?! Imagine the excitement that will be offered each of us when we demonstrate the maturity to embrace it rather than crumble under it!
Seasonal Silence. Seems out of line with a blog on God speaking right? But truthfully, sometimes God is silent. And in the midst of his silence, we would be wise to remember that he is present. How terrible and lonely it would be to mistake his silence for his absence. And in these seasons that test our trust we must cling to what we know of his character. He is intentional. He is loving. He is just. He has a plan and a purpose. He hears us. Consider this: if God were accountable to us on every topic and every intention of every effort, he would not be God – he would not be worth worshiping. I’m currently reading through the book of Job. It’s painful. He loses everything – literally, all but his life. And as he endures the tormenting voices of his supposed “supporters,” he calls out to God for answers – and for a long time God is silent. Until chapter 38 (which is awesome). His silence did not last forever – nor will it with you.
One more quick thing – occasionally God is silent for a reason we can uncover. When there is an area in life where you are out of line – and you know it – and you remain in it (often called “unrepentant sin”), there’s a chance God will use silence to redirect. It’s like the elephant in the room – imagine your teenager walking in after totaling the car, and then asking for some money. In light of the car, offering some money, or even engaging in the conversation doesn’t really make sense until you deal with the bigger issue, right? When God is silent, do a gut check and make sure you have dealt with any offenses. God is a God of healthy relationships – don’t ever expect him to ignore the urgent. And then there’s the occasion where he is silent because he already made his answer clear. I love it when Roman asks me for something 563 times. Usually candy. Eventually I either tune him out (don’t judge me), or stop to look in his sweet face and he gets the: “really?” look –as I ask him what I said the first time he asked. I think maybe God looks at us like, “Really? My darling child, you already know the answer to that.”
Sometimes hearing from God is straight up awesome. Sometimes hearing what God has to say is hard. Sometimes we can be tempted to cover our ears or fix our gaze in an easier direction, or a happier prognosis or a less intrusive ask. But rest in this; he responds out of his desire to see us become the people he created us to be. I beg of you that you would not allow the tarnishing of your ears with easier noise. I encourage you to listen – it will always be to your benefit to engage with the One who designed all things and allows life to play out according to his purposes. God speaks – we are wise to listen.