One of the biggest struggles in The Challenge is surely trying to come up with a subject to write about each day! I suppose we all have come up with our ways to identify our choice. Mine is to simply ask for help.
The asking is easy. The listening for an answer is hard. My mind tends to run on its own course, even after putting the matter out of my hands. I have to continually remind myself to wait and see what answer I’m given, no matter how great a pick I come up with on my own.
It’s important who you ask. That idea intrigues me; maybe next year I’ll ask random people to give me a word to match the alphabet letter of the day, and force myself to write on that topic, whatever it is (within reason, of course!). Now that would be an interesting and challenging writing exercise!
This year I went with the second word in my title. Every day after I’ve posted the piece for that alphabet letter I’ve looked up and asked God what the next word should be. And thankfully He’s answered. Or maybe I should say, thankfully I’ve been able to hear His answer.
God always answers. He just doesn’t always choose the most conventional means of getting His reply to us. Sometimes He likes us to search about a bit for it, maybe to see if we’re serious about the question we’ve posed. At other times the distractions of everyday living and the cares of our heart drown out His still, small voice in our ears. Or maybe it’s that we’re so busy constantly talking ourselves that He simply can’t get a word in edgewise and is just waiting for us to take a break.
The ability to hear God’s voice is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I remember the day many years ago when my father suddenly lost his hearing almost completely, a consequence of high dosages of a medication he had taken years earlier. It was a horrifying experience that he had to live with to one extent or another for the rest of his life. Aside from the obvious day-to-day difficulties his condition posed, he agonized over the loss of simple things that most of us don’t give a second thought to, the sound of the wind in the trees, for example. While he found he was able to cope, his struggle replaced much of his joy.
The same is true of us when God’s voice is absent in our lives; we struggle alone with difficulties that He longs to help us with, and much of the delight of day-to-day living with the Lover of our souls is lost to us. Thankfully the ability to hear him speak isn’t dependent on the physical nature of our ears but rather the spiritual condition of our hearts. And oh, the joy we find when we finally take a break from our own efforts to simply listen up, and finally hear Him speak His love to us, even if it comes just a word at a time.
“…be quick to listen, slow to speak…”
(James 1:19 NIV)
(James 1:19 NIV)