About a week ago I started a class at church led by my pastor. The group in the class is very small. Aside from me and our pastor there are only 3 other people. I like the small size of the group though. It makes for a more intimate setting. With only a few people contributing to the conversation everyone gets a chance to speak, nobody is left out or fighting to be heard.
Near the end of the class last week our pastor told us that he wants us to start keeping a journal. He asked if anyone already did that, and was surprised to hear that I do not keep a journal. His words were, “I’d figure you of all people would keep a journal. Aren’t you the writer?” So needless to say it has been a bit weird this past week to get back into the habit of sitting down each evening and writing a journal entry. You’d think it would be no problem, especially since I write most of these posts like a journal entry. And, honestly, my journal entries over the last week have sounded like something I would post here.
Journaling is not the point of this post though.
Something else our pastor told us was that he wants us to be open to hearing the way God speaks to us. I sat there and immediately got terrified because in that moment, had he asked, I would have said that I have never heard God speak to me . . . EVER! Our pastor wanted us to be prepared to share with each other at the next class the way God has spoken to us since our last meeting. I just knew that I was going to be the only person in that class to say that God doesn’t talk to me, that He ignores me. I’ll be honest and say that I started to panic. If I can’t hear God speak to me does that mean that I am not a Christian? Does that mean that He has given up on me? Does that mean that I am failing in my search to turn my life around for him? Does that mean that I am a fake? Rather than trust God to open my ears and heart to be able to hear his voice I immediately fell into doubt.
I went home that night and prayed, sharing with him my fear and asking him to open me up to hear him speak to me if he had anything to say.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) (text courtesy of biblegateway.com)
The next morning I got up and got ready for work. I don’t have to be at the station until 9 a.m, and usually leave my house around 7:45 since I have a 50 mile commute. I was all dressed and ready to go by 6:45, a full hour before I needed to leave. Usually if that happens I will sit on the couch and take some time to do a little reading, but as soon as I came downstairs into my living room a thought went through my head that I needed to leave right then. I remember thinking that I would end up getting to work extremely early, but I could work on some stuff to pass the time. Again the thought went through my head that it was time to go, NOW! I gathered my stuff and walked out the front door. I climbed into my car and tried to start it . . . **click click click** . . . dead battery. I tried again to start my car. **click click click** Yes, that battery was absolutely dead.
My husband had driven my car the previous day and said nothing about it acting weird or out of sorts, but with a car battery you rarely get any forewarning. They usually work one day and then all of a sudden give up the ghost.
I called my husband to see if he could come help me, but he was already in his work truck on his route and was nowhere near me. I knocking on my neighbor’s doors, but at 6:45 in the morning they were all still asleep. I tried calling a coworker who lives nearby, but she shuts her phone off at night and hadn’t turned it back on yet. I tried calling my husband’s former mother-in-law. We are still friendly with her and she has always told us not to hesitate to call if we needed anything. She wasn’t answering her phone either. All I needed was somebody to either come jump start my dead car or give me a ride to my husband’s car so that I could use it to get to work, but I couldn’t get anybody to answer their phone. GRRRRR!!!!!
I thought about calling the drummer, but as soon as the thought popped into my head it was followed by another thought. “He won’t come help you. He will make excuses to get out of it. Don’t call him.” I never dialed his number. Instead I tried calling my friend Tim. He and I don’t talk that often, but I had no doubt that if he was awake he would lend me a hand. It turns out that Tim had a doctor’s appointment that morning and my dead car was on the way to his doctor. He showed up, hooked my jumper cables to his battery and patiently waited the 10 minutes it took for my battery to get enough charge to finally start. He never asked for anything in return. He was just doing a friend a favor.
I realized that morning that God listened to me when I asked him to help me hear his voice. As a matter of fact he didn’t even wait 12 hours to let me hear him. He is the one who told me that I needed to leave my house at 6:45 that morning. Had I sat my butt on the couch until 7:45 then I wouldn’t have been able to get Tim to come jump start my car.
I have always “gotten a feeling” about things. We all “just get a feeling” sometimes. Some people call it a gut feeling. Some people say they “just know.” Is that God speaking to us? Could it turn out that God was speaking to me all along and I just didn’t recognize his voice?
On a side note . . . the drummer. It turns out that God has been telling me since November to leave the drummer alone. My friend also told me the exact same thing back in March. I did not listen, at least not until almost 2 weeks ago. That was the last time I saw or spoke to him. I ended up saying something that would have taken me back to the old me. I realized that being around the drummer is so very bad for me, and that once and for all it was time to be done with him. That thought that I had the morning of the dead battery . . . “He won’t come help you. He will make excuses to get out of it. Don’t call him . . .” was a moment of clarity for me. I realized that in that one thought (God speaking to me again?) was summed up every aspect of our friendship. With all of the times that I prayed and begged God to help me remove the drummer from my life but then went right back to him it was the realization that I couldn’t go to him in a moment of need that finally let me close the door on that friendship. Up until that moment I wasn’t ready to let go. I couldn’t see a reason to let go. So God put me in a situation to be able to see it the reason with giant flashing neon signs.
God does speak to us. He speaks to us all the time. Sometimes we understand the words. Sometimes we don’t want to hear them, but God always tells us what we need to hear when we need to hear it.
What has God said to you today?
Until next time . . .