Have you ever read something or heard something that seemed like God meant it just for you? Maybe it was something said on the radio that spoke to a situation you were experiencing. Or maybe you have had someone send you a card or poem that was perfect for whatever you were going through, only they didn't know. Possibly it was a scripture verse that just jumped off the page with what I call "holy highlighting" and you have a God moment. I believe God gives us words of encouragement or guidance with perfect timing. Only...do we receive them?
Many times the still small voice of God is drowned out by our own worries, the voices of others, or our own agendas. It is easy to rationalize our desires or the desires of others to whom we are close, and allow these rationalizations to sway our desire to follow God. When we do this we tend to become confused. I think having an open heart to hearing God speak at all times, not just when we are troubled, is the key to hearing God well. If we recognize the still small voice in the little things of life, then we are more accustomed to hearing God speak in the big things.
Last week I heard God speak to me in my morning devotions with "Pray as You Go." Now you would expect God to talk to you in morning devotions, right? Well of course you would! Today, however, I distinctly heard God say to me, "do not be afraid." Awesome right! You know what "do not be afraid" generally indicates right? That you are afraid.
My family and I are getting ready to move. This means we will be leaving one congregation and meeting another. There are many worries that comes when this happens. Packing, ugh! Is this the right decision? How will the church you dearly love and are leaving transition to their new pastor? How will the church to which you are going welcome you and your family when they are losing a pastor they love? Will I be able to live up to the many expectations that are placed on me in my new location? How will my family do with the move? And the questions could go on and on and on. But I heard God speak to me, "do not be afraid." This was very helpful in calming my anxiety and fears over whether or not this decision is right. "Do not be afraid" breaks into the darkness of my fears and banishes them in the light of Christ in my world.
Sometimes, God follows these words of encouragement with something that just shouts, "see God is in this!" And that happened two days after my morning devotion which told me, "do not be afraid." I found that a good friend of mine will be coming to serve the church I am leaving. So the church I love will be ministered to by someone I love. God said, "see I told you, nothing to worry about."
Of course there are still concerns. Did I mention packing? Ugh! There are stresses that come from transitioning to a new job, moving to a new community, leaving people you love, and in all of these things I can know with surety I do not need to be afraid.