I used to chuckle at those T.V. commercials for a cell phone carrier. The fellow would walk along so far and then ask, "Can you hear me now?" The idea, of course, was to point out that this particular carrier never dropped a cell phone call as versus the others out in the marketplace. It was clever advertising, but it also made me think of God's efforts through the ages to reach the heart of man. He sent His commandments. Then, He sent His prophets and finally, He sent His Son all in an effort to make clear to His creation the way of salvation. Even after we become a Christian, God continues to speak to our hearts through His Word, in prayer and through fellowship. But are we listening?
I am reminded of a story which I have seen in various forms on the internet, but found most recently in a devotion written by Dr. Neil Anderson of Freedom in Christ Ministries. The story goes like this: "A devout Christian heard an urgent news report on his radio that a flash flood was within minutes of entering the peaceful valley where he lived. Immediately he went to his knees and prayed for safety. The words were still on his lips when he became aware that water was gushing under his door. He retreated to the second floor and finally onto the roof of his house. While he sat on the roof, a helicopter flew by and the pilot asked over the loudspeaker if they could lift him off. It's not necessary since I have the Lord's protection, he replied. Moments later the house began to break up and he found himself clinging to a tree. A police boat, braving the waters, approached him for rescue, but he assured them that the Lord would save him. Finally, the tree gave way and the man went to his death. Standing before the Lord, he asked, 'Lord, I'm glad to be here, buy why didn't You answer my prayer for safety?' The Lord responded, 'Son, I told you over the radio to get out of there. Then I sent you a helicopter and a motor boat!'"
Nowhere in the Bible are we told that God is only going to do the extraordinary or miraculous in order to speak to our hearts. Most of the time God works through His created order. He speaks in that "still, small voice" rather than through a loud speaker. Unfortunately, many of us are looking for a big billboard in the sky to tell us what we should do when we are in a difficult situation. Like the man in the story above, we are "trusting the Lord" for our deliverance but we miss all the common things around us that can lift us up. Let me give a personal illustration.
I was feeling somewhat disheartened the other day, so I asked the Lord to give me some encouragement. During the busy day at the office, several people made nice comments to me. Then, I received an uplifting email from a friend. The entire day, in fact, was filled with small moments like this, and when I sat down that evening to think about it, I knew it was the Lord sending encouragement my way. He was in all the small things of the day.
Our problem comes if we only look for Him through signs and wonders. That is not a faith walk....it is a sight walk. We cannot hear God if we are not tuned to His voice. How do we learn to recognize Him? The answer is found in knowing Him through His Word and in spending time with Him.
The Bible says in Hebrews 13:5: "He [God] Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.'" If this is true, then why do we look for the answers everywhere else but in the simple things around us? Maybe someone has given us a Christian book to read. Perhaps someone sent us a letter or has given us a phone call. God can use these simple things to speak truth to us, but we have to be tuned in to hearing Him behind these simple things.
God promises that when we call to Him, He will answer us: "Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (Jeremiah 33:3). How wonderful it is to know that our Father in heaven wants to commune with us! All we have to do is look around us at what He sends our way each day. If we pray, seek answers in His Word, we can trust Him to know that He will send us His response. Lets remember the lesson in the story we read so we don't miss God's call to us, "Can you hear me now?" Selah!
Father, tune our ears to hear your voice. Open our eyes to everything You have provided for us so we can walk in obedience to You. Help us to see You in the small things instead of always looking for the big things. Forgive us for seeking signs instead of seeking You. Thank You for never leaving nor forsaking us. Help us to trust You more each day. In Jesus' name, Amen.