I was in a meeting once with a consultant who had been brought in to advise on a non-profit organization’s proposed development project. He began his presentation, then looked around the table and said, “If I’m talking, someone should be taking notes.” That seemed arrogant on the part of an engineer, but it’s not at all arrogant when it comes to God.
Sometimes we do hear God speaking to us, don’t we? Usually it’s a thought, a highlighted verse of Scripture, or a nudge to do something we hadn’t planned to do. That’s often how God guides, encourages, and teaches us. As we get to know him better, we learn to recognize those messages.
When God speaks, it’s something to take seriously. For that reason, I like to keep a journal close at hand, so when God says something to me, I can take notes. Recently, for example, I asked him about a situation in my life and his response seemed to be “I will make a way.” It was clearly from God, and I wanted to be sure I’d remember it, so I made a note. That thought has come back to me numerous times since. I do the same with Bible verses or phrases that seem to speak to me on a particular day. Writing these messages down cements them in my memory and also makes them available for revisiting – sometimes years down the road.
God’s word is eternal. What he speaks may be valid for more than one situation. Let’s write his messages down, then read them again and again. When he speaks, we all should be taking notes!
“People are meant to live in an ongoing conversation with God, speaking and being spoken to.” – Dallas Willard
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” – Anonymous proverb
One day I was fussing around trying to get everything done, worrying about this and that – just restless, I guess. I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge: “Don’t you have something you want to thank Me for?” Of course I did. I stopped my whirlwind and gave Him thanks for several things that came immediately to mind. As soon as I did, I felt my spirit move from restless to restful. It was amazing.
So what really happened? God’s reminder to thank Him was not for His benefit, it was for mine. A gratefulness pause made me realize all that God does for me every day and how much He must love me to remind me of that even when I was “toiling and spinning” like the biblical lilies of the field. Recognizing His character, His faithfulness, and His consistent drawing of me to Himself helped me to trust Him even in the middle of what felt like chaos.
Trusting is not an act of the will. Rather, it is an emotion that grows out of a confident relationship with God as we discover that He loves, protects, teaches, and rescues us – and has been doing it for years. Even brief moments of remembering His never-failing consistency nurtures the emotion of trust in my spirit. Over time, I am finding that trust is more often my first response to struggle instead of my second, third, or fourth.
Maybe we need to stop telling ourselves to trust God and, instead, start realizing who He is and what He does for us. As we make gratefulness a habit, trust happens. Understanding that has made a big difference for me. It can for you, too. Don’t you have something to thank Him for right now?
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” – Jeremiah 17:7