I’m Listening (or at least trying)…

When God calls us, it is never in vain. No matter what God asks of us, it comes with a promise that we will not walk alone. God walks with us, strengthens us and enables us to answer the call as we go along. When we feel as if we are walking alone, it is often at our own hands. We have run ahead or stopped listening, leaving God behind. In those moments, we need to slow down and wait for God’s direction. It will come; eventually it always does.

Just this past week, I wrote the above statement. It is a belief that has formed and grown stronger over time and I have come to embrace it with all of my heart and soul. How can I be sure of it? How or when will God’s direction come? I cannot say. The answer is different for each person and each situation. Part of it is, and will remain, mystery. While I do not know all the details, I do know, and believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the answer will come through prayer…answered prayer. Whether it is through my own prayer or that of others praying for me, or another, or a particular situation, God hears all those prayers and answers them in ways that are far greater than we could ever imagine and that are for the benefit of all involved, and beyond, even if we cannot see it. All we have to do is look at history, our own, and that of the world around us, to see God’s boundless mercy, love, compassion… the hand of God.

If there is one thing that experience has taught me, it is that when I place my hope and trust in God, any situation, no matter how “good” or “bad” it appears, can be a blessing. God’s faithfulness to God’s people (each, and every, person who humbly calls out to God, with a sincere, open heart) throughout history, despite our shortcomings, is truly amazing. Think about it.

In what ways has God blessed us throughout our lifetime? In what ways has God rescued us from the wilderness? What can we do with the gifts and blessings we have been granted?

Recently, I saw this quote, “All through nature, you will find the same law. First the need, then the means.” (Robert Collier, Author). While there may be a temptation to attribute “the means” (or the answer) to people of great knowledge, great wealth, or great luck, I cannot help but think of the Great Creator. That is, the One who not only loved us into existence, but who also grants us the time, the talent, and the heart to find a way to meet the need without becoming self-centered and self-serving.

What wondrous things occur when we cooperate with the grace of God! When we answer that call…respond to that nudge, or when we simply start the day, or whatever situation we find ourselves in, whether it is in waiting for direction or moving into action, with, “Here I am, Lord. Help me to desire that which You desire. Let Thy will be done through me.”

The Summons (lyrics by John L. Bell & Graham Maule)

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around,
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I’ll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.    

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