Editor’s Note: I can’t count the times I’ve wanted (needed) to hear from God and didn’t. I’m an impatient sort, so I feel uncomfortable when God says, “Wait.” My blogging friend, Kelly Baker, wrote an excellent post on her blog about three things we might consider when we need to hear from God. I wanted to share her insights and thoughts with all my readers. Be blessed.
By Kelly Baker
Blogging at KellyrBaker.com
Don’t we love it when God gives clear direction straight into our spirit? Generally speaking, He doesn’t always do that! One day I longed to hear from God. I worshipped.
Again, exasperating silence.
A Psalm of David. I pray to you, O LORD, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Psalm 28:1 NLT
This particular translation of this verse makes me chuckle. I’m sure there is a more productive solution than self-pity. But, what do we do when He says nothing? Why does He say, “Wait”?
We all desire to hear His voice clearly, and when we haven’t we wonder what are the possible reasons. It’s not easy to be at peace with His temporary silence, but we can be sure He has a purpose in it.
3 Actions While Waiting on God’s Answer
1. Spend time with God daily. Could it be that He wants to fill our hunger and thirst? He desires that we know Him more and more through His Word. When we study the Bible, we begin to know God’s character. I’ve thought of someone in the midst of a situation and said, “I already know what that person would say!” When we know someone well, we can easily hear that person’s voice playing in our head. When we regularly spend time with God, it becomes easier to “know” what He would say in those times when we feel He is silent. We can then more readily relate His Word to our circumstances.
2. Consent to character development. There may be times when we open our Bible while seeking Him for specific direction, and the Holy Spirit will illuminate the words we’re reading. Suddenly, there is an answer staring us in the face, maybe even from an entirely different angle. He might be telling us we need to make an adjustment. It might not have been the answer we thought we needed, but the one He knows we need. He often gives us what we don’t expect, but it’s still an answer. To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet (Proverbs 27:7b KJV).
3. Trust Him. God is getting every detail in place. Have you ever looked at the perfect way gears lock together and turn when they fit properly? When we wait for His timing we see Him properly align every specific, necessary facet. Sometimes we think we are stuck, but if we could take a step back and see His viewpoint we would see the big picture. We aren’t all clock makers. He is working on our big picture. He’s got it covered.
Through His seeming silence, God might be saying, “Come and know Me more,” or “An adjustment needs to be made.” At other times, He may be wanting us to let go of the stress and trust Him. He will fulfill His promises. Let’s not allow doubt to be a hindrance. A prayer of doubt will nullify a prayer of faith.
What are other reasons God may be silent, or say, “Wait”?
By John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Ministries
My experience with Sunday School at Frazer is an excellent example. Early in my ministry I put together a visionary group called the Joel Team to help discern God’s vision for the future. One layperson suggested that Sunday School attendance had to grow in our church. This bucked the trend because United Methodist Sunday School had been declining over the last 50 years. Our Sunday School was small, but these creative laypeople began to discuss how we could change that trend.
We discovered that some of the larger Sunday School classes were meeting in smaller rooms, and some of our smaller classes were meeting in larger rooms. This isn’t good stewardship in the use of the facility.
Let me remind you that Sunday School classes have a tendency to have ownership of their space. They go to great efforts to upgrade the looks of their classroom. The window treatments, the altar tables, etc. are oftentimes personally made by members of the class. One layperson suggested, “Why don’t we look at Sunday School attendance every six months and rearrange the rooms to give the largest rooms to the largest classes.”
Caution! This is a huge change. People began to see that every Sunday School class might have to change rooms. But the question is – do we want to grow a Sunday School or do we want to have business as usual and keep our own rooms? Change would be necessary.
The Joel Team, consisting of people from all age groups, said that our core value is to grow our Sunday School. To do that it would be necessary to place the largest classes in the largest rooms. It was voted on and passed unanimously, because the core value did not center around the inconvenience of change but the vision of growing the Sunday School.
Every six months the average attendance of each class is recorded and the rooms are assigned accordingly. The Sunday School grew to three sessions each Sunday morning. Each room is used three times. If you go to Frazer today you will see no permanent Sunday School class names on a door. There are actually three slots for 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 Sunday School. Each class has a nameplate that they can slide into that slot. The classrooms change accordingly to average attendance and the size of the room.
It has also created a bit of competition. If you want to keep your Sunday School room, you need to be inviting people and growing!
Another layperson suggested that the best way to grow our Sunday School is to start new classes. Because the tendency to give a new Sunday School class a room that is not being used (because nobody else wanted that room) you design defeat for the new class. The Joel Team suggested that we give the best classrooms to the new classes. That was a big mindset change for Sunday School classes.
All of these ideas passed our governing body almost unanimously. Because the Joel Team had representatives from every age group in the church it was not a case of “they” making a decision for radical change, but it was a “we” are a part of that deciding body.
If these proposals had been my idea, I would not have been retained as pastor very long! But this was the vision of the laypeople. When laypeople have ownership, vision becomes reality.
What was the result – Frazer grew a Sunday School that became the largest Sunday School attendance of any United Methodist Church in America!! The amount of change dictates the amount of growth. Vision became reality when people were willing to change.
John Ed’s blog posts appear on For His Glory each week.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:email@example.com
By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Director of John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries.
Each Thursday on “. . .all for God’s Glory” we will feature a post written by Dr. John Ed Mathison
Posted September 5th, 2012 by John Ed Mathison
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