Listen To God

Posted on 02/07/20 by Paulette Fewell

The First Lesson in Encouragement: Listen to God

There are many practical suggestions to encouraging people when they are struggling and losing hope, but the first lesson in encouragement is not about what to say. It is to pay attention to God and to do the thing He asks you to do.

I was reminded of this fundamental truth when a friend lost her father recently. Jackie, my loving wife, asked me if I was planning to attend the visitation. The visitation’s timing was inconvenient. I would have to rearrange at least three commitments to make a long trip across town. My initial response was resistance to the idea.

Gently, Jackie reminded me of the importance of this woman as our friend. I got quiet. Then another voice joined Jackie’s. She could not detect it, but I did. Through years of experience, I have come to recognize that other voice. It is never loud, but it is always clear. That still small voice was in strong agreement with Jackie: rearrange your schedule and go.

As you have developed spiritually, I hope you have come to understand that God wants to interact with you in order to work with you and through you. As you open yourself to that possibility, you begin to discern the difference between God’s directing you and other ways that your mind works. In addition to discernment, you glimpse the wonder and beauty of saying yes to God and joining him.

The morning of the visitation came. I drove 40 minutes across town and arrived at the funeral home. When I saw my friend, she began to cry. We had a few special moments of a very tender conversation. Then she made sure that I saw her sons who both had grown up since I last saw them a few years ago.

As I finished our moment together, another friend walked up. I did not expect to see his face. He has been living through a difficult situation in his life for a long time. During that time, I had reached out to suggest our getting together. The time never seemed right because of the intense demands of his situation.  As soon as I asked him how he was doing, he invited me to sit with him to talk a few minutes. For 30 minutes he thoughtfully recounted the events of the past year. As he shared, we both became tearful as he recounted God’s gracious provision on two very specific occasions. Our spontaneous conversation became a sacred time together.

Other people arrived, and many wanted to speak with him. I knew we had more to discuss.  I invited him to share lunch soon and he accepted. We enjoyed lunch on the day before I wrote this. Our meal had that same unique quality of a dialogue arranged by God. We plan to get together again soon.

This is my point: If I had remained with my first reaction to the suggestion of adding the visitation to my schedule, none of these conversations would have happened. Doing what God asked, created a possibility where God could work. Had I refused, God could have still done something for both of these people that He loves. But hearing God and acting, allowed me to participate in God’s graceful action. I deserve no credit for what happened. The main character in these stories is our loving Father.

My suggestion to all of us: Pay attention to when God shows you something to do or someone to contact. Often, He is initiating a unique opportunity to share in something important that helps someone and glorifies our loving God.

Pat and I often talk about the blessing of those who support Encouragement Ministries. Your financial gifts provide us with a great freedom to go to act when God opens doors. Your referrals are an integral part of God guiding and directing us to new opportunities. Your prayers are an important part of our working with a power that is greater than our abilities and that glorifies God as the source of every spiritual blessing.


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