Thursday, June 14, 2012

While You Wait

Recently I visited a local health food store, seeking out a particular employee for advice on choosing a pro-biotic for my youngest child.  A friend recommended this employee for two reasons, both because she is knowledgeable about these products and because she "talks to Papa."  I waited quite awhile to speak with her as she was in conference with other customers, but when I had my turn she listened attentively as I described our issues and what I hoped the pro-biotic could help us avoid.  She asked some questions, spoke to the boys with interest (only the boys were with me), and took us to find an appropriate pro-biotic.  Her advice, however, was not what I expected.

"Here is a pro-biotic, and here are digestive enzymes.  These may help for a time, while you wait.  But I can't tell you what to do.  You will have to ask the Holy Spirit what you need to do.  It may be inconvenient, what He tells you, and it may be very difficult, but that isn't really your issue.  All you have to do is agree up-front to do whatever He asks, and then He will take care of making it possible."

The more I mull this over, the more I realize that this conversation really encapsulates the decision I face with every choice in life.  Am I willing to agree up-front with what the Holy Spirit wants, before I even know what that is, and then plead for His answer and once I have it to turn the implementation over to Him?  Or do I want what I wanted from this woman, a neatly laid-out plan with steps to check off, given to me by some wise person who knows all about how things should work?

I did not like the answer in the health food store, and I don't like that answer in the rest of my life either.  But what am I missing out on when I choose to look for my own solutions rather than seeking out God's?  That doesn't mean I have to be inactive.  I can take the pro-biotic and the enzymes to tide me over while I wait, and I can get wise advice so I'll be prepared for whatever course I'm supposed to take, but am I willing to do those things while waiting, open for a course change whenever the Word comes?  Am I willing to prepare myself while asking for guidance and agreeing to follow in any direction, even where I don't want to go?


  1. Great post! But how do you know FOR SURE when it is really the Holy Spirit speaking to you or just your own preferences or unconcious?? When it comes to situations like the one you descibed above, it is not so easy to just go to scripture and see if the guidance you think you are receiving form the Holy Spirit really is the Holy Spirit afterall. So how can you really know for sure?

  2. You have to practice listening and obeying. That's really all there is to it. I am not particularly good at it myself yet, but I know that it's practice I lack.

  3. I mean to say that you have to practice listening and obeying, starting with small things on a continual basis. Once you get good at recognizing those promptings in small things, you'll be better able to notice it in the bigger things.

  4. "All you have to do is agree up-front to do whatever He asks, and then He will take care of making it possible" - this is such a simple truth, but it can be so hard to swallow when what He asks goes against what we want! We should all be willing to go where called, to listen when spoken too, and to serve when asked by Him. Thank you for reminding us all to listen and obey.

  5. Kathy thank you for your response. Please tell me how I can 'practice listening and obeying' when I do not know for sure if it truly is Him speaking?

  6. LiA,

    The book "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby can help some with knowing how to identify God's voice in our lives. One thing that I'm gradually learning to do is to recognize the small promptings, especially those that are seemingly insignificant and not relevant. Perhaps ask God to reveal those to you more clearly? I think if you can start developing a habit of recognizing and responding to those, others get easier.

    I still don't have clear guidance on the issue that sent me to the health food store. Perhaps I've received guidance but haven't recognized or accepted it. Perhaps God isn't ready to give me an answer yet. Perhaps I haven't really asked for it effectively. It's likely, I think, that the answer I'm getting is not what I'm expecting so I'm not seeing it, or maybe that the appropriate course of action goes in a completely different direction from what I anticipate and so I'm needing to reorient my whole focus before I can see it. Very possibly I'm off-track in some area of life that *I* think is completely unrelated but that in reality ties directly in to this issue, and until I get back on track in that area no progress will be made here.

  7. Testing b/f I respond!

  8. Aha! It worked! I tried publishing my response when I first read the post and it refused my profile!

    Lia, I wanted to recommend a book I read some time ago - The Papa Prayer: The prayer you've never prayed by Larry Crabb. Described as "a spiritual journey that can yield such a close connection with your heavenly Papa that your desires will be His desires, and you'll be able to hear His voice as clearly as a child lost in the woods hears her daddy call her name." I stuck my nose back into it last night, and I think it will be most helpful - it is an easy read and very insightful for someone wanting to relate to God who resides in their heart by the Holy Spirit.

    I've been "praying" for a LONG time, but it's only been within the last 5 years or so that I stopped believing the lie that it was hard to hear Papa speak and required extreme work on my part. So wrong!

    One of the things I do b/f rising is to welcome God into my day by simply saying "Goodmorning, Papa!" and then I usually "remind Him" of some scripture. I invite Him into the details of my life, first, because I desperately need Him in the small things (I think I'm realizing now that this is Him instilling meekness in me), and secondly, because He WANTS to be in the details of our lives, lovingly leading and guiding us as He sanctifies us this side of heaven. Experiencing His presence is profoundly delighting, especially in the smallest details of our lives. It increases my faith by leaps and bounds. And lest I think I've become too familiar with Him and "forget" that He is holy, He gently reminds me, and I am in AWE of His great love to not allow me to stay in any form of spiritual pride.

    Praying that you are drawn closer to Him each day.

  9. Thank you for the book recommendation and insightful comment!