When you are very eager to please God, it’s only natural that you want to be 100% sure that you’re doing exactly what He wants all of the time. In an effort to secure that kind of assurance, it’s very easy to fall into a habit of casting lots or routinely asking God for clear signs before you decide on a course of action. And yet once you start trying to get God to confirm your decisions before you act on them, you will quickly discover that He starts refusing to do so. Perhaps He does speak to you through signs the first few times. But soon He’ll stop speaking to you through them. If that doesn’t deter you from trying to use them, then He’ll start intentionally deceiving you. For example, in a fit of frustration, you might ask, “God, if You love me, then make this coin land heads up,” and instead God will cause it to land heads down or do whatever else you’ve set up as your “no” signal. A couple of rounds of this treatment, and you’ll lose all confidence in casting lots as you pitch into a period of frustration and doubt. So why does God do this? Why does He intentionally frustrate your efforts to get clear direction from Him? Isn’t He supposed to be judging you by your motivations? Yes, He does. Then why doesn’t He appreciate the fact that you’re sincerely trying to please Him by being clear about what He wants? He does appreciate it, and He’s expressing His appreciation by frustrating the heck out of you when you try to get clear leading from Him. Well, what kind of sense does this make? This is what we’re going to talk about in this post. Continue reading
You spend hours in the prayer closet, and God doesn’t say a peep. But when you get into the shower afterwards, suddenly He pipes up with some word. What’s up with that? Why does God wait until you’ve got a head full of shampoo distracting you before He’ll say something? Ever sit down to have that focused prayer session only to wake up an hour later wondering when you drifted off? Or how about waiting all day for God to speak to you, only to have Him suddenly pipe up when you’re sitting at a friend’s house feeling distracted by noise and people? What are we to make of God refusing to show up in these sacred settings we arrange for Him? Is He telling us to stop trying to put so much effort into seeking Him? No, He’s actually teaching us a very different principle. Continue reading
Suppose you have a best friend named Sam who lives next door to you. You both work from home and the two of you are in a habit of sending humorous text messages to each other throughout the day. Well, one day, there aren’t any text messages from Sam. You wonder what’s wrong. You send him a text asking if he’s alright. There’s no answer. You look out your window to see if Sam is home. There he is: standing in front of an open window holding a mirror. He’s using the mirror to catch the sunlight which he’s reflecting at you in strange bursts. Well, that’s odd. You send him another text, asking what he’s doing. There’s no response. You look out your window and see him once again pick up his mirror and start flashing bursts of sunlight at you. What on earth is he doing? You’re starting to get annoyed, but then you get distracted by a phone call which leads to more distractions, and by the time you’re thinking about Sam again, it’s dark outside. You send him another text—one which makes your annoyance with his evasive behavior quite clear. There’s still no response. Aggravated, you march out of your house, cross over to Sam’s and knock loudly on the door. Much to your irritation, Sam won’t open up. Instead, he peeks out at you through the living room window. Now he’s got a flashlight in his hand which he’s flashing at you in strange, rhythmic bursts. You go over to the window and demand to know why he’s acting so weird. He finally pulls a sticky note out of his pocket and slaps it on the window. It says “Morse Code.” Then he keeps flashing his light at you.
Now you suddenly realize that all of these irritating flashes are actually a code which you’re supposed to be deciphering. Long, short, long, short, short. Sam’s simulating the dots and dashes of Morse code. Well, that’s irritating. You’ve never used Morse code before. Sure, you could research it on the internet and struggle to start deciphering Sam’s message, but what a hassle that would be. And it’s all so utterly unnecessary when Sam could just pick up his phone and text you or open his door and talk to you face to face. Well, Sam isn’t going to. Sam is on this strange trip with Morse code and he’s just not going to talk to you any other way. If you want to keep communicating with your friend, you’ve only got one choice: you’re going to have to start learning Morse. Continue reading