Wednesday, January 30, 2013


How great would it be if God answered our prayers immediately, presenting His will loud and clear? That would be quite convenient. That would make life so much simpler. That would make following God's will so much easier. Discernment would not be painstakingly difficult, but rather, nearly effortless.

But that's not the way it works. Sure, God is sometimes speaking to us in His thundering voice. But only sometimes. More often than not, He's speaking to us in that whisper. He is telling us what He wants from us in a barely audible voice. It is difficult to hear not because He does not speak loud enough, but because we block out His voice by focusing on other insignificant sounds.

It would be SO EASY to find the path God wants for our lives if He spoke to us in an obvious and spectacular voice. But He doesn't always do that. Why? He prefers to reveal His plan in subtle ways. Besides, in the words of Mark Hart of Life Teen (a Catholic youth ministry organization), "If God did everything my way—according to my plans— well then He really wouldn't be God." We want God to open every single door in our path immediately. But instead, He allows us to choose our path. As a result, we fumble from door to door until we get it right. Sometimes we choose the wrong path. Other times, one door closes and only then will we notice the other door God has opened for us.

I am only in the initial stages of my college search and I can already see that just because I ask God to tell me what He wants me to do with my life, it does not mean I will wake up the next day with everything mapped out in stone in front of me. Instead, I know I will debate and go back and forth and try many doors before I find the right path. If I am open to God, I know He will reveal Himself slowly but surely in my life.

 He unravels the plan He has for our lives piece by piece. He takes us where we least expect to go. It takes time to find for us to discover where we were meant to go. I think it is much more rewarding, anyway, to find your path in life not just because "God says so," but because your personal experience has proven to you that what "God says" is for your own good.

He has a plan for us. He is answering our prayers...just not in the ways we expect.

The prophet Elijah, in 1 Kings 19, desires desperately to speak to God. He needs the consolation and peace that only He can bring. God instructs Him to stand on a mountain in front of the Lord. Elijah waits and waits.

A great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

Elijah waited for God. Surely God would appear in the strong wind, and in the earthquake, and in the fire. But He did not. He did not choose to reveal Himself spectacularly to Elijah. He chose, instead, to reveal Himself humbly. It was the gentle, easily-ignored blowing alone that brought the voice of God. Though he did not expect it, Elijah realized that this low whisper was God and was restored by Him. Elijah, like us, expected God to come to him promptly and obviously.

Even later, the world expected Jesus to come spectacularly as the Messiah. But instead, He arrived humbly as a baby in a manger. The Messiah was definitely glorious, but His glory did not show in the material form of riches or rank. He did not bring salvation as the glorious, obvious Messiah that everyone expected. He brought salvation as a glorious but humble human.

The manner in which God chooses to speak to us is usually anything but spectacular. The effect of this revelation, however....that has the potential to be very spectacular.

When we pray to God, He is revealing the answer. We can hear this answer in the big things, in the little things, and throughout each second of our lives... if we are listening attentively. And we need not only listen for the blaring megaphone of God's voice that we so often expect. We also must learn to listen for that gentle, unexpected whisper, for even then, God is speaking.

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