Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lions and tigers and...boats?

I'll admit it - sometimes my quiet time is really hard. Showing up for it is easy. Staying focused during it? Not so much. My prayers feel like the same ones day after day. I try to be still and listen for God's voice, but I struggle with that, too. My mind starts planning my day, reliving the last one, or just flying off on a tangent altogether - it's so frustrating!

I'm a very literal person, so I want things to be spelled out in black and white for me to read, like a note. Or if God would just decide to speak out loud to me, we could have a real conversation and I would absolutely know what He said. That would be so good! C'mon, is a burning bush or a little glimpse of glory too much to ask?

But it doesn't work that way for me, and it requires a lot more effort on my part to hear what He has to say. Many times I have to do a little leg work to get what God wants me to know. Take one day last week, for example...

One morning I was specifically looking for some guidance on a situation that brings me a great deal of frustration. I was sitting in my spot, eyes closed, trying to keep my mind from wandering off and making a to-do list for the day, when pictures of different animals kept popping into my mind. First I saw a lion, and then an elephant. And a bird. And on and on.

So, I started thinking. "Animals, MANY animals, in the Bible....the ark! NOAH!!"

I grabbed my Bible and turned to Genesis 6 and started reading the story of Noah. I read about how righteous he was - the only blameless man left on earth. God told Noah how rotten the human race had become and how He was going to flood the earth and just wipe everything out. Except Noah and his family. I read about God's plan for Noah, including blueprints of the ark, where He had planned every detail right down to the size of the air vents. Then I read verse 22: "So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him."

Well, why wouldn't he? He was a righteous dude!

I kept reading. Noah built that ark, and God gave orders about who and what should be brought on board. And in Genesis 7:5 - "So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him."

He did everything as the Lord commanded him.

There's my black and white. "Do what I told you to, Beth! So what if you don't like it? I am your God, and I know what is best. There will be many times when you won't like what I ask you to do. Will you trust me, or will you give up?"

And in that moment, my answer was clear.

If God gives me a command, I need to listen. Like it or not. If he tells me to build an ark, then I need to pick up a hammer. If He tells me to feed the hungry, then I need to grab a plate. If He tells me to write, then I need to pick up a pen. I just need to be obedient to whatever it is I've been asked.

And so do you.

But, there's more! Genesis 8 goes on to say that God remembered Noah. Not in an an, "Oh yeah, I met that guy once" kind of way. God had made a covenant with Noah, and He was faithful to keep His promise by delivering Noah from that flood safely.

God asked Noah to do something very difficult.
Noah obeyed.
God delivered him.

God may ask us to do hard things, but they are for our good, whether we can see it or not. We need to trust God to remember us. And when we are obedient to His call, He will remember us.

Now that I have my answer, I've gotta go find a hammer. It looks like it might rain. :-)

Lord, forgive me when I try to have everything my way. My human nature wants to be in charge, and sometimes rebels against what You have commanded me to do. When I start to listen to the lies whispered to me by this world, remind me that I am a child of the Light and I have no business in the dark. I want to be obedient to you, Lord, but I can't do it without Your help! "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5


  1. This is a comment!! And I'm leaving it on YOUR page! Finally!

    This makes me very happy.

    I'm the same as you are when it comes to quiet times. My mind wanders and before I know it, I'm doing something random. Then the prayer goes back to "God, I'm sorry..."

    Thanks for this post-- inspiring as always.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one whose mind wanders during quiet times. I love when God gives us pictures!
    I find my best quiet times are in my garden. Sometimes digging, or pruning, or just sitting, I hear his voice--I see pictures. Not of lions and elephants, but of birds who depend on his care. Of pests like iris borers (really ugly grubs) that destroy beauty--what a picture of sin--yuck.

    Thanks for the reminder to listen and obey!


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