Why can’t I hear God?
Lost in Toronto
There are times when we find ourselves lost in this world, and to make matters worse, we don’t seem to be able to hear God’s voice. In our first devotional, we discovered that sin can separate us from our loving heavenly Father. The second devotional pointed out that side-show distractions can also hinder us from hearing God. Today, I would like us to focus on how easily we can wander away from the source of rest.
Keeping ourselves busy all the time can be the reason why we don’t hear from God any longer. Let me explain with an illustration.
My oldest son was coming home. He had to take a train, then another train, then a bus, then a shuttle, and finally the car my wife had left for him at the Toronto airport. When he finally arrived in downtown Toronto, he had to walk to catch his bus to the airport. There were no signs, however, to direct him to the bus stop, so he did what anyone would do: He wandered out into downtown Toronto, randomly looking for the bus stop address. After walking for a good half hour, he still had not found it. He became desperate, as the last bus of the day would be leaving in half an hour, so he called his mom.
The problem was, his mom was in Alberta, 3000 km away, helping our youngest son move into his new living quarters. I, on the other hand, was at the “home office,” so to speak, but though I was only 100 km away instead of 3000, I might as well have been in Alberta, for I truly don’t know Toronto at all and had no idea how to help.
I was so focused on the impossibility of it all that when my wife called from Alberta to suggest that I might help him, I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. In fact, I almost missed her advice: “Go online and look it up, then you can guide him.” I just couldn’t fathom how I would ever be able to help: “Hello! Is there anyone out there that can help my son who is somewhere lost in Toronto and who wants to take the last airport bus to the airport? Oh, and by the way, he only has about thirty minutes before the last bus leaves!”
It’s only when I finally stopped fretting that I heard the sweet voice of my Lord and Savior: “Go to Google maps.” Immediately I could envision how I could lead my son from point A (Wherever that was) to point B (Wherever that was, too).
Via text, my son was able to let me know the names of the two nearest crossroads, as well as the name of the street where he would find his bus stop. Within seconds I had not only located him on the map, but also where he needed to go. I was able to guide him to his destination, and despite having to stop at a bank to get cash to pay his fare, he made it on time.
This totally impossible, nightmarish scenario was only made possible when I stopped in my tracks and listened to what God was trying to tell me. When I was preoccupied by my worry, I couldn’t hear God’s voice; but when I decide to rest in His arms, His voice was loud and clear!
This is where the next text becomes a reality: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30, NIV2)
As long as we try to resolve things in our own way, we will miss the rest that Jesus can provide us with. It’s hard to hear from God when we put ourselves in charge of our fate. Resting in the arms of Jesus changes all of that.
When resting in His arms, we can anticipate His answer, as it assuredly will come: “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Ps 5:3b, NIV2)
Unfortunately it isn’t easy to step down and relinquish control. Still, who in this world could boast that he or she could obtain salvation by him or herself? No one! (See Eph 2:8-9) Only Jesus can promise that, and His promise is valid and true. The same is true with the rest He is promising us, but it is up to us to decide if we will take Him up on His offer.
We need to discover that “the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.” (John 14:28b, MSG). This was and still is Jesus’ focus. He never had a problem hearing God clearly, as God the Father was His reality.
Are you lost downtown Manhattan? No problem! I can help you with this.