Each chapter of life, from our perspective, has its delays; hopefully, as we wait, we learn to listen for the Lord’s leading. When we do this, delays can become productive times in our spiritual development. When we stop asserting our nine suggestions to the Lord of the Ten Commandments, good things happen. We’re restless waiters, wanting someone else’s life. But blow the horns: Jesus is about to walk into the stalled and searching heart: “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him … it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD”.
A big difference exists between wanting to hear from God and needing to hear from God. Wanting to hear from Him is great but may still mean we’re keeping our own bushes burning as we look for confirmation of our own plans. Needing to hear from Him yields those “Here I am” moments when we’re not pushing our own agenda, but seeking His. An empty-handed believer with a listening ear trumps a well-resourced, driven, on-the-move believer any day. The first needs to hear from God; the latter merely thinks it would be “nice” to hear what God has to say. To one, God’s directive voice is an absolute necessity; to the other, it is only icing on the cake. Nice, but not necessary. Desirable, but not desperately needed.
Rest assured that each of us vacillates between needing and wanting to hear from God; but acknowledging the difference helps straighten the path. “He who has ears let him hear” is a frequent refrain of Jesus’. The Savior’s intent is not to evoke emotional response from hearers, but to heighten their attentiveness to the voice of God. Emotional responses don’t usually last, but the disciplined development of a “spiritual ear” will pay dividends forever.
Only through the development of a finely tuned “spiritual ear” will we be able to identify “longing wrongly.” If we bounce through life impatient and indifferent to God, our lives will only be an imitation of someone else’s. But searching for the fast forward and rewind buttons is not God’s will for anyone. If God wanted me to be retired, I would be in my seventies. I’m blessed to be in the throes of raising kids and working. The bottom line is yearning to know that God shapes your life into a treasure, not a counterfeit.
You can get Gregg Matte’s book by clicking on Finding God's Will.