"For I know the plan I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." (NIV Jeremiah 29:11)
What happens when you can't hear the voice of God? So often in this world, we get lost in a sea of problems, the clutter of everyday life, or worse--war, acts of violence, the death of someone dear. Do we conclude that because we don't hear a voice booming from the heavens or get exactly what we asked for and fast that God must not exist? Or that if He does, He is not the type of being who interacts with His creation and cares what they do or what becomes of them?
Or could it be that God's timing is different than ours--as well as His purpose? Could it be that He sees the big picture, while I only see the little bit that's right in front of me.
I have known a couple who had marital problems, looked for a quick fix from God, didn't get it, and so concluded there was nothing to it. Then many years later, things had gotten so bad that they each went down their own dark road and eventually split up off and on for several more years. Finally, when things got so bad the split was permanent and irredeemable from a human point of view, they each turned back to God in their separate ways and He moved in their lives, transforming them each to the point that they could forgive virtually a lifetime of hurt and forgive the unforgivable. They finally heard God's voice in their lives, and it changed them. But it did not come in the way and time that they expected.
On my own side, I know that in spite of a family friend's assertion that he calls and calls God, but God never picks up, He has spoken to me before, sometimes through other faulty humans, sometimes directly into my heart. I have felt Him lift me up and carry me, felt the joy He gave me through times so heavy and convoluted that all I should have felt was despair. My situation didn't immediately change; in fact, I'm still in the middle of a mountain of difficulties. But I do feel His comfort when I stop trying to do it all myself. In my case, I feel that because I'm so stubborn and independent, it took a deep well of problems to get me to reach for Him and lean on Him---but that I will be the better for it, no matter how this all turns out. I feel He is using these experiences and the faith I gain from it to shape me for a particular purpose.
I guess some people need a little more polishing than others . . . but there is purpose to it. And "If God is for me, who can be against me?" (Romans 8:31b)
Dear God, please help me to stop long enough to listen for Your voice and to trust that Your timing will be right. Light my path and give me discernment in discovering the purpose for which You're polishing me. In Jesus's name, Amen.
Lisa Holloway is a Christian freelance writer, as well as a copy editor and writer for Inspiration Networks. She has served with the U.S. Navy and USAID/OFDA, and has studied in India. She recently wrote four stories for the compilation "Can My Marriage Be Saved?" www.NewHorizonWriting.net