Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Listening through the chaos

Galatians 1: 11 – 24 (NIV)
"I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man (emphasis mine), nor was I taught it (emphasis mine); rather, I received it by revelation (emphasis mine)from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man (emphasis mine), nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus."

After Paul’s Damascus road experience (Acts 9), these verses in Galatians tell us that he went into Arabia to spend time alone with God – to be taught, not by human experience but by revelation from God himself. Paul was taught first-hand by the God of the universe…and we can be too. As difficult as it may be to find, we have to set-aside a part of our day to listen and learn from Him. Getting quiet and actually listening is essential.

Now I realize we all have busy lives. There are so many "things" competing for our time; schedules to keep, kids to get to school, soccer, baseball, ballet, football, tennis, swimming, basketball, volleyball, etc. practices get to, spouses to spend time with, animals to feed and walk, bosses that needed things done yesterday, bills to pay... and the list gets longer and longer. No wonder we're so overwhelmed and exhausted. For me personally, sometimes it feels like there is nothing I can do or no where I can go to get away from the never ending chaos. I feel exhausted just writing about it.

This morning as I sit here writing this blog from sunny Florida where my family is spending spring break, I am tying to "get away" from the "stuff" of my little world. Sitting outside on the little screened-in porch, I can hear the relaxing sound of the fountain in the middle of a little man-made pond. The sun has been up for about an hour and the air is still a little cool. I can also hear muffled sounds of my family getting breakfast ready and talking about the events of the day....this is a bit distracting for me. While trying to "be still" and "listen", I find it a bit difficult to focus on the words of my heavenly Father. 

Have you ever felt like this? You try to "get away" and "listen" but everything around you is screaming for your attention? 

Don't be dismayed; there is hope. The Bible teaches that there is somewhere we can run and find guidance and direction as well as comfort and rest for our dry and thirsty souls. Psalm 42:1-2 says "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” 

The Psalmist recognizes his deep need for God, he longs to spend time with him on a daily basis - to drink from the eternal well that never runs dry. The Psalmist also recognizes that God will quench his thirst and in that fact he finds hope and renewal for his soul. In the same way, God will quench our thirst - He is continually with us and longs for us to know him intimately. In order to establish this type of relationship with God we have to be in His word and apply the truths of it - DAILY. Even though I am distracted by the sounds of things around me, I know God is there and I know He's  talking. I can see Him in the beauty of the sunrise and feel Him in the gentle breeze that blows through my hair. I recognize His presence in the here and now, in the midst of everyday life. This helps me put the chaos of life in a whole new perspective. 

Our God is a God of order. From the very beginning we see God creating the world over a 6 day span. From that I have learned that God never intended for my life to be so "chaotic" that I can't find or listen to Him. Yes, my life gets this way from time to time and I will be the first to admit that I have lost sight of God's voice.  But, I am hopeful that, with Christ's help, I can turn this all around. I want to walk so closely with God that I see, feel and hear Him during the peaceful times as well as the most treacherous storms of my life.

So how are you doing in this department?  Are you finding a part of your day that you can sit at the feet of Jesus and discover all He has for you? Do you hear His voice in the midst of the storms or chaos of your life?
Related reading:
Deuteronomy 32:47; Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17; Psalm 63:1; Psalm 119:105

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