Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fiery Guidance Part 2

Last week I posted part 1 of “Fiery Guidance”.  I commented on how encouraging it would be to constantly see visual proof of God’s presence.

One reader, Nicole, left a thought provoking comment…

“I don’t know if I would trust a visual presence – isn’t that strange?  It is so outside my experience of God that I would think I was losing my mind.”

It’s a great observation.  And the Israelites are proof that visual presence of God doesn’t guarantee faithful followers.

The Israelites DID have proof.  Day in, day out, right in front of their noses.  The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

And they still messed up!

They worshiped other Gods (Exodus 32), they rebelled against their leaders (Numbers 16), and they accused God of trying to kill them after He saved them (Exodus 14, Exodus 16, Exodus 17, Numbers 14).  Keep reading through the books of Exodus and Numbers and you’ll see all the times the Israelites didn’t get it right.  And God was right there in front them!

Why is that?

Maybe they were so accustomed to seeing the cloud and fire that God became an “every day” god.  He was just part of their daily routine…

Get up in the morning, look at the cloud.  It’s not moving today, guess we’re staying in camp.  Get up at night, see the fire.  That’s convenient.  Something to light the way so you don’t trip on the path to the outhouse in the middle of the night.

God became convenient, normal, common.

And guess what?  We’re no different than the Israelites.  Even if we each had our own private fiery pillar floating along in front of us we’d still mess up.  We’d still doubt God, just the same as we doubt the GPS when it tells us to make a turn we don’t agree with.

“Oh look, the fire’s turning left up here.  That can’t be right.  God wouldn’t take me into a nasty neighbourhood where I’ll have to talk to homeless people.  I’ll keep going straight for a few more blocks.”

All the while the fiery pillar blazes in front of you calling out, “Make a U turn, make a U turn, make a U turn.  I want you to go and help that person.  You’ll be blessed because of it.”

But we think we know better.  We continue on our straight path and miss the blessing God intended for us.

This raises two questions:
1.  How do we go through our daily struggles but continue to trust that God is with us?
2.  How do we prevent God from becoming ordinary to the point that we ignore Him?

The answer to both these question can be found in two places: 
  • Our daily time in the Bible
  • Our daily time in prayer.
As we read through the Bible we find reassurance of God’s presence. 
  • He never deserts us. 
  • He carries us in times of trouble.
  • He loves us. 
  • He can take the most horrible situation and make something good and godly out of it.
When we spend time in prayer we enter into relationship with God.  You can’t hear someone speak if you never slow down long enough to listen.  God is no different.

When we stop talking to God and start listening we hear Him whispering to us.  Our hearts soften and we become more aware of what He wants for this world.

If you’re going through a hard time right now please be assured that God is with you.  In the midst of your pain you may not feel or see God, but He is there.  He knows your struggle and loves you deeply in the midst of it.

Do you make time to stop and listen for God’s voice?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

No comments: