Which way should I go? Should I turn right or turn left? Should I continue or should I stop? Should I speak or should I stay silent? If I am to speak what should I say or what should I not say. Do I continue on ahead or should I go back?
This morning, during my prayers, as I walked and talked with Jesus, it struck me how desperately I need His guidance in literally everything that I do. And although the idea of needing God’s guidance while walking through a mine field may seem like it’s a little extreme, I don’t really think that it is.
Jesus told us that it was expedient that He return to the Father but that He would not leave us as orphans. And we all know who orphans are, generally speaking, they are young children who do not have a mother or father to watch over them, care for them and provide guidance to them on what to do and what not to do.
And of course we know that Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit, who is promised to reside in all of us who believe and trust in Jesus. And I have learned over the years that the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit within me, guides me in different ways at different times.
The “Comforter” can speak to me in quiet words that enter my mind repeatedly, over a period of time or He can make His guidance known to me instantaneously, with an urgency for me to follow through with what He would have me do. And that “urgency” can in itself be subject to different levels or degrees.
Sometimes I am not even aware of His inner guidance but a thought will come into my mind and I will act upon it because I’ve learned over time that it is prudent to do so. But always, always, this guidance that we receive, is in complete accordance or agreement with God’s Word.
Yesterday I felt led to respond to a fellow Christian and let him know how much I appreciated the work that he does on his blog and how I find what he shares builds me up. When the thought came into my mind I agreed with it, and I followed through with it. It was a heartfelt and sincere acknowledgement that I was happy to give. God’s Word tells us to build one another up and what I stated was truthful so there was nothing stopping me from following through on this.
What I didn’t know was that the evening before, this Christian brother had asked God in prayer, if the work that he was doing on his blog was being used by God for His purposes. As he related to me later, in short he was looking for some encouragement.
God provided an answer to my brother’s prayer, through His Holy Spirit, through me. God put that thought in my mind, I responded and both my Christian brother and I ended up being blessed. When these things happen, totally unplanned, where we follow through with that internal leading that agrees with God’s Word and is truthful, that is an example of following the leading of God’s Holy Spirit within us.
And of course, this is not an isolated case, in fact, it happens quite frequently. Giving encouragement to other Christian brothers and sisters is a frequent request of God’s Holy Spirit. Notice I said request. Most times there is no great urgency associated with what the Holy Spirit asks us to do. We can ignore it and not act on it if we wish to. God is not limited in accomplishing His will, should we decide not to obey or comply.
But when we don’t follow through, we end up losing out on the blessing. Obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit builds our faith.
The urgent requests of the Holy Spirit are different. They are very strong, almost to the point where it would take an act of defiance not to comply, but we still have that choice. Urgent requests are rare but I can tell you from experience, you really don’t want to miss out on these opportunities that God gives us. I said no to God’s strong leading once, many years ago and I have regretted it ever since.
Many years ago, when I was much younger in the faith and in the military, I had to have an operation on a cartilage in my leg that had snapped or torn. No big thing. I had the operation in a military hospital on one day, stayed overnight and then was released on the next. The day after the operation, starting early in the morning, God sent person after person to my bedside to talk about God. Doctors, nurses and orderlies, one right after the other, for the whole day. It was literally non-stop. I was reading my Bible in the morning, a nurse started talking to me and the rest of the day and part of the evening, it was just continual. This just doesn’t happen.
When the evening rolled around, I was mentally exhausted because we are talking about me talking for almost 12 hours. When I was finally all alone, God asked me if I could do this on an ongoing basis and I said no. That thought just came burning into my mind from no where. I said no because I foolishly thought that it all depended on me and of course it didn’t, but I didn’t understand that at the time and I was honest and I said no. Heaven only knows what would have happened had I said yes but I didn’t.
Fast forward 40 years later and after I retire from full time work I start working part time as a security guard on that same military base, literally just a stones throw from that same hospital. I never even noticed it at first until someone asked me for directions to the hospital and then God brought it back to my memory. That 40 years was my time in the wilderness, until I was finally ready to go into the promised land (five years ago). Crazy isn’t it?
Fortunately God is gracious and patient and He did give me other opportunities where I did say yes to some other “strong” leadings, but I’ve already covered some of them in previous posts.
Forty years ago I wasn’t even aware that there was a mine field or that God’s guidance was available to walk through it. But there is a mine field and the stop and go, left or right guidance is indeed available and no, we are not orphans. I wish I knew then what I know now but I didn’t.
Learning to walk with and trust in the Lord can take time. And yet, our gracious, loving and wonderful God can take the time to hear the prayer of one of His sons and answer it through His Spirit, via another son. Tell me that isn’t beautiful.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!