I read this morning in 1 Sam 13 about how Saul got really stressed out & jumped ahead of Samuel & offered a sacrifice without Samuel. In verse 11 Samuel confronts Saul to find out why he acted so brashly. Saul’s reply is really interesting to me. Basically, he says there are 3 reasons why he wrongly did the sacrifice thing: the philistines were closing in, the Israelites were slowly leaving him & Samuel hadn’t shown up. Personally, I think these are all really legit reasons. But the core problem was that Saul made the decision not to trust God & to take matters into his own hands – and this behavior is
extremely familiar to me & maybe to you as well. It didn’t turn out well for Saul, nor does this technique usually work for me either. So the moral of the story is that no matter how many good reasons we may have, our trust in God can never be a negotiating point 🙂
We all make mistakes – some are little & some are massive! Of course there are lots of consequences that we have to work through from our mistakes & we can certainly take away some great lessons. But let’s be careful to leave behind any shame from our mistakes & only take with us the constructive lessons that we learn. This is really important because shame can distort the constructive lessons & turn the mistakes into black holes. So with our mistakes, let’s take the lessons but leave the shame 🙂
There are times in my life when it seems like I can’t hear God well – almost like I’m getting the silent treatment. In my early 20s, I had several months of silence & it was a profoundly difficult time for me. As I’ve grown older, I still have some of these silent seasons, but they are not nearly as difficult for me as they were many years ago & here are a few things that have helped me when it seems like God is being quiet:
- get closer: when someone speaks quietly or softly, I need to get closer to them so that I can hear them better. This is also something that has helped me with God – when it seems to me like God is being quiet, I get closer to listen better (get closer: eliminate competing voices, re-prioritize my time, be more wholly present & less distracted)
- stop talking: I had a friend once tell me that they had decided to stop talking around me because I didn’t listen – a noteworthy lesson
- test: whenever a teacher gives a test, they usually try to make a quiet environment to help their students to focus & do their best. Sometimes God tests us & this for various reasons (to reveal the things & people in which we trust more than God, to expose the reality of our need for God, to teach us some new ways to be with God)
I live in Denver and we’re having a really lovely snowstorm – it’s beautiful, quiet and abundant! My kids have been playing in it for most of the day because school was closed due to the snow. I was driving around in it a bit earlier and I’ve noticed a few things that can be helpful not only w a snowstorm but also with life:
- clothing is like our attitudes: the right attitude can turn many hardships into some great potential fun
- together is better than alone: playing in the snow is much better with a friend than alone and the same is true for hardships
- time changes things: in the Summer its hard to imagine snow and in the Winter it’s hard to imagine 90 degree heat, but its only a matter of time until things change
- teamwork can clear off alot of driveways, or so they say ,)
Lately my kids & I have been trying some exercise at a climbing wall. We go & put on the harness, the elf-y looking shoes & I’ve even thought of trying some of the chalk stuff. We’ve learned how to strap into the safety rope & we’re enjoying trying to scale different walls. Frankly, I don’t think I’m any good at this sport – my upper body strength is super sad, among many other challenges. But its fun to laugh at myself & try to get better than the last time.
I recently had an interesting chat with the supervisor for the climbing wall. We were talking about listening to God & following His voice. The supervisor guy is really nice & has a great heart. I’m amazed listening to him and hearing how God is directing his steps. Here’s a few take aways from our conversation: following God requires faith, my friend sometimes has a hard time trusting that he’s hearing God. A second take away is that following God isn’t always about the long-term destination. It seems to me that following God is often more about the one step at a time rather than the 5-10 year strategic plan, complete with SWOT analysis [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats]. Like learning about the climbing wall, I have to have confidence / faith in God and take one step / hold at a time 🙂
These truths will help us to climb higher in God.