When you are waiting to hear from someone, you can wait in two ways; you can hope to hear from them, or you can expect to hear from them. When you hope to hear from them it means, for your part, that you aren’t sure they are going to speak to you, but you really want them to. When you expect to hear from them it means, for your part, that there is an understanding between the two of you that they will speak to you, it just hasn’t happened yet. When it comes to The Lord, are you one who hopes to hear from Him, or do you expect to? If you are one who hopes, its time to change gears and expect it. But how do you do that? Simple; you remember that you are in a relationship with Him. (This is part one of a two part series.)
When I was in fourth grade, I had a bit of a crush on a sixth grader named Courtney Davis. Being too shy, and two grades behind her, I was incapable of communicating with her in person. I sent her notes through a sixth grade friend. I found out where she lived and rode my Huffy Pro Lightning past her house (creepy, I know that now). I eagerly hoped to hear from her. Eventually I did. “Thanks, but no thanks.” Not what I hoped for. Chicks, man.
When my kids got their drivers licenses and were getting used to driving on their own we set some rules. One of them was that they would call Jess or myself when they arrived safely at wherever they were going, even if it was just a few blocks away. That way we knew that they had arrived safely. Before they ventured out, we agreed that we would hear from them after they arrived, and so we did.
It’s About Relationship
The difference between hoping to hear and expecting to hear is relationship. I had no relationship with Courtney and had no reason to expect to hear from her. She never knew me. (See Matthew 7:21-23.) I have a relationship with my kids. Therefore I have every reason to expect to hear from them, and they from me, especially if its prearranged.
If you have a relationship with God you should have the expectation of hearing from Him on a regular basis. After all, He has the expectation of hearing from you, and not just when you need stuff.
It’s Like God Won’t Shut Up
When I read the Bible it’s like God doesn’t shut up. From the third verse of the Bible, God is speaking. Every time He speaks, stuff happens. He hangs out with Adam and Eve. He talks with Cain, even after Cain kills his own brother. He talks with Noah who is part of God’s plan to preserve human kind and animals alike through the flood. And that’s just the first 10 chapters of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
Hebrews 1:1-2 says,
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”
In case you think that the author of Hebrews is being figurative about God creating the world through Jesus, you need to remember John 1:1-3.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
When God said, “Let there be light” in Genesis 1:3, somehow, that was Jesus! But I digress.
But God Never Talks To Me!
I know, I used to think the same thing. I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover a number of times. While reading about people like Abraham, Moses, David, the people in the early church, and so many others, I’ve thought to myself, “Why doesn’t he ever talk to me like that?” The simplest explanation, at least in my case, is that I wasn’t really expecting Him to. More than that, I never really gave Him an opportunity to.
The pattern I see in scripture is that God is always looking for people to talk to and talk through. There just seem to be very few who actually listen let alone have an expectation. One of the main benefits of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is the open lines of communication between individual people and The Lord. Will you take advantage of it?
This holds true today. If you haven’t already, take the time to subscribe to the Notes From The Road podcast, and listen to the interviews with Kate White, Bill Ritchie, and Jessica Stephens. They all attest to the same thing; when you intentionally listen for God, when you believe that He will speak to you, you will discover that He does speak specifically to you. If you go into it not believing that God speaks, then no surprise that He won’t. After all, would you try to have a conversation with someone you knew in advance wouldn’t listen to you?
Take some time and reflect on whether or not you really, actually, for-realsies except The Lord to speak to you. I’m not asking if you believe God can speak to you, but whether or not He is already speaking to you.
[reminder]Do you expect God to speak to you? Does the question itself make you nervous?[/reminder]
Stay tuned for part two of this post; 5 Steps To Remove Digital Distractions And Hear God Clearly