Friday, September 24, 2010

No fleece necessary!

We know the story of Gideon - God had told him exactly what to do (He'd even sent an angel to tell him!) but Gideon was still not exactly sure about God's direction so he put out a fleece ( a piece of animal skin) and asked God to confirm his decision by making the fleece wet  and the ground around it dry. And the next morning it was exactly as he'd prayed for but poor Gideon was still not sure so he prayed that the fleece would be dry and the ground around it wet, and God, ever a gracious Father, again gave him the confirmation he was seeking and then, finally, Gideon was ready to get with the program.(Judges 6)

Often it seems God speaks this way - over a period of time,after much time spent in prayer and consultation with wise friends and a weighing of the pros and cons... but, as I discovered today, sometimes God speaks with another voice...

This morning, while in a small group for Bible Study, it was mentioned that there was need for a teacher for the 3 and 4 year olds so that many of the women who had to find babysitting arrangements on their own would be able to bring their children with them.  A worthy cause, giving mothers of young ones a time and place to get into God's Word - surely I could help! Throughout the next hour I kept thinking about the need and my own perfect qualifications for meeting it, saying "Well Lord, is this what you want me to do? I could do it but it would be quite a commitment...what do you think I should do?" I thought I'd get more information and then continue praying about it during the week to see if this was where God wanted me. 

And so the information getting conversation began;
There is a need?
What does it entail?
"First...., then....., and then....."  

I did not meet the first requirement of having attended this study for three months already (which would be difficult seeing it was Week 2) so even though I explained why I had the ideal qualifications to help but it didn't matter, I was summarily dismissed until three months had passed.

I had been rejected!
"It's insane to turn down a volunteer who's willing to make a commitment like that", I thought as I walked out. "She has no idea who I am and could have at least talked to me a little longer to find out and why should these poor women wait when I'm offering and I am a great teacher and...".my thoughts were raging angrily and it wasn't until I paused for breath that I heard it - the voice of God saying "You asked me for an answer didn't you?"

This was not a rejection of me but was God quickly answering my question with a firm and unequivocal "No!." I didn't expect so immediate of an answer, as I hadn't had time to work through the process and put out a "fleece"... But God had indeed already given me the answer I was seeking, faithful in His guidance and all I could do was laugh. God indeed knows the way that I take (Job 23:10)  and the best pathway for my life (Psalms 32:8) and this was not it.

So how do you know if it is God speaking?
John 10 answers that question with a story:
"The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep...and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won't follow a stranger, they will run from him because they don't know his voice."

I called a friend last week and when they answered, for a split second, I didn't recognize their voice because it had been so long since we'd spoken even though we've known each other for years...

Keep up the conversation.
Even if you've been in a relationship with Him for years, keep spending time with your Lord and Savior so that when God speaks you will know His voice;
no fleece necessary!


chrisd said...

Amen! Well done! I agree with you entirely. We sometimes want God's answer and He gives it to us and we're like, 'Wha-huh?'

Lord, help me to be open to You and Your leading.

kathy D said...

Sometimes it makes so much sense to serve in a certain area but God sees the things that we don't see. Thanks for the reminder