I want SO MUCH to do the Lord's will, but honestly, sometimes I don't know if it's His voice I'm hearing or my own desires. Many times the Lord will literally have to beat me over the head with something before I'm convinced that it is His voice that I've been hearing. Jason and I often laugh over how difficult it is for God to convince me, but the truth is that I'm ashamed of it. After all, I should know His voice. Why can't I distinguish it from my own or from the myriad other noises that assault me day after day?
In my devotion time this morning, the author referred to the story of God leading the Israelites through the wilderness. You know the story. By day, they followed a cloud, and by night, a pillar of fire. With such obvious symbols, the Israelites could be assured of two things: (1) God was in their midst; (2) They were heading in the right direction.
I don't have much trouble remembering that God is always with me. However, when it comes to knowing that I'm going in the right direction, I feel the need to ask for those pronounced symbols. I find myself asking God, "Why can't you lead me with a cloud or a pillar of fire?" "Why can't you make it that obvious for me?" When I receive His answer, I'll let you know what He says.
In the mean time, all I can do is study God's Word and keep a close relationship with Him in prayer. While the Bible may not tell me specifically whether to take a certain job or to invest in a certain business, it does give us vital information that we need each and every day. I've seen the Lord use a verse in the Scriptures to answer a very specific question, so I know that He will answer me when it is His time.
The second part is that precious prayer time. I need to remember that I'm not only there to talk, but also to listen. I need to work on tuning out the noise around me and focusing on God's voice so that I will recognize it when He speaks to me.
Would I rather have a cloud and a pillar of fire? Probably. But, is that what would be best for me? Probably not. God has a way of helping us to grow, even when it's difficult and frustrating.
If you, like me, have trouble distinguishing God's voice, take heart. Read the Bible. Ask God for His direction. Then, listen to His answer and obey.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.