God can be a bit exasperating. Have you noticed?
Sometimes you beg for Him to speak and tell you what to do, and you don’t hear a peep. And other times you want Him to hush, but He won’t be quiet (like when you’ve sinned or when you’re getting off the path He laid out for you).
When He’s quiet there is usually a reason. After my sophomore year in college, I was really struggling with whether God wanted me for full-time ministry. I had made up my mind that if I felt that was the case, I was going to leave the college I was at and go to Bible college.
One evening I was praying with two other guys. It was nearly time to go back to school and I needed God to hurry up and speak. I was hoping He would send an angel and say, “Goooooo preeeeeach!” The other two fellows seemed fervent in their prayers.
And me? Crickets.
My angel must have gotten lost or the Prince of Persia resisted him. I’m still waiting on him 47 years later. So, I went back to the college I was at and finished a major in Political Science with a minor in Journalism.
And by the way, when I got back to school after that frustrating prayer meeting, there was a new girl who had moved to town and started to going to our church.
She became my wife. The Bible school would have been full of possible pastor’s wives, but none of them would have been as good as the one I got. Thanks Lord for not speaking when I desperately wanted you to.
How Do You Decide?
Another thing I’ve noticed is that when it’s time to change, several options often present themselves. I have to decide which one is God.
These are times that sort us out and we get to see what’s inside. As we pray, seek the Lord and reflect, we find out a lot about ourselves, what we value and what motivates us.
The process of finding God’s will is different for each one, but I’ve found one of the most reliable indicators of God’s will is peace. You may have a storm in your emotions and your will may be bucking like a wild bronco saying, “No, no, I won’t go!”
But, way, way down where the real you resides, the Spirit of God breaths peace. One of the great indicators of His will is peace.
The dove is a symbol of peace. When God marked out his Son for John the Baptist, a dove settled on the Messiah and John saw it. Peace marked God’s choice.
Paul found himself with a door wide open to preach the Gospel, but he left that place because peace was missing.
“When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.” 2 Corinthians 12;12, 13, NLT
God Speaks By Peace and Delight
So, how do you come to a place of peace about what God wants you to do? For major turning points, it generally takes time and for each one of us the process is different.
But, I’m convinced that Paul shows us how to push through to this peace.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6, NLT
“…as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Peace—and finding God’s will—are by-products of snuggling close to the Lord Jesus.
Once another missionary asked me to help him in his ministry at the Bible school in Brussels for a year. I had a lot to do in Luxembourg during that time, but I wanted to do this new ministry, too.
One day I was praying. It was one of those periods when the Lord seemed so close. As I was praying the scripture came to my heart: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” (Ps. 37:4, NLT)
And I realized that when we’re loving the Lord with our whole heart, then the things that our heart desires must be his will. That was one of the best years of our ministry.
God does speak and reveal His will for our life. The process of hearing His voice and understanding His silence weaves us into His great plan for us. Let’s make sure we’re wanting to hear and quick to obey.