I'm currently reading a small little book called, "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence (a carmelite monk who lived in the late 1600s).
I'm purposefully reading it slowly so that it will more fully sink in. If you have never read it - you NEED to. It's a very quick read (less than 100 pages) and I have kindly put the link for you to buy it on Amazon right her on my handy little blog. So - there you go.
Here's something that really spoke to me today from the 1st little section of the book...
Brother Lawrence writes:
"...if we are truly devoted to doing God's will, pain and pleasure won't make any difference to us. We also need to be faithful, even in dry periods. It is during those dry spells that God tests our love for Him. We should take advantage of those times to practice our determination and our surrender to Him. This will often bring us to a maturity further on in our walk with God."
There is SO much in these few sentences! I had to read that first sentence several times. Read it with me again, "...if we are truly devoted to doing God's will, pain and pleasure won't make any difference to us." What does that mean? Well, to me it means that I cannot let my feelings determine where I go or what I do. I cannot let how I feel about a situation change how I act within a situation. I must trust only the truth of God's Word - the faithfulness of His character and the sovereignty of His plan!
That next section is important too! Have you ever gone through a time in your life (or are you in one right now) where you are having a hard time discerning God's voice and His will for your life? Or maybe you're not understanding why God has you in a certain place, a certain ministry, a certain situation?
We've ALL been there. I think Brother Lawrence has some beautiful advice for us for those times. "We should take advantage of those times to practice our determination and our surrender to Him!"
I once heard Beth Moore (one of my favorite Bible Study teachers) say that if you're having a hard time believing God, then you should ACT like someone who believes. I think the same holds true here. We must be determined to surrender to God - it won't simply happen. It's an act of the will. Deciding to follow when we don't feel like it, or trust when we're not sure we're believing it, or worship when we simply don't want to is not something we should do - but something we MUST do. In choosing to behave more like one of God's chosen - we will begin to more fully understand what it actually means to follow. In choosing to try harder to discern the voice and will of God, we will begin to get better at getting still and actually listening. Sometimes God chooses to be quiet so that we will lean in closer. It's not because He doesn't want to talk to us but because HE DOES! It's not because He loves you less, but because HE LOVES YOU MORE!!
If you're having a hard time discerning the voice and will of God, don't get discouraged and give up. Get determined. Get focused. Get QUIET. and lean in a little closer. Get into His Word!
He's there waiting for you to do just that!