I don’t know if it’s the weather or the fact that we’ve run out of all the good Halloween candy, but this rainy, cold November afternoon is sucking the life out of me. Last week I would have run to the kitchen and three Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups later I would have been blogging like a fiend. But now all we have out there is the kind of candy that isn’t worth the calories.
Since all that chocolate isn’t surging through my system and giving me the energy I need to write, I guess we’ll have to make do with whatever is going on inside my head at the moment, and that is a precious small amount. Mostly I’m thinking about one thing: listening to God. Listening and then responding to God, specifically.
Of course I’m getting ready to work on my next manuscript, and the book is all about listening to God. I’ve been interviewing friends and looking up verses and researching different authors’ thoughts on the matter. It makes sense that this is on my mind.
But also, there’s a decided upswing in the amount of conversation between God and myself. The more I listen, the more He talks. I’ve gotten an earful. This is the verse that is stuck with me this morning:
It’s a beautiful verse, isn’t it? The thought that God will give us exactly the directions we need comforts me. I hope it comforts you, too! But if there’s one thing I learned from Howard Hendricks’ book (Living by the Book), it’s this: you cannot take one verse out of its context. We must consider the whole passage. So here it is, Isaiah 30:19-22:
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”
Other than being totally embarrassed about that last part there, and setting aside the fact that I don’t actually live in Jerusalem, I see a couple of important things. First of all, God is very involved in our lives if we let Him. He cares for us, He responds when we call for Him, and He wants to give us the directions we need.
But I also see that we have a responsibility here. If we want God involved in our lives, we need to respond. We need to get rid anything we’ve made more important than God. We cannot keep our idols and expect God to overlook them when He gives us directions.
Easy to type; hard to live. Now, on this rainy, freezing, dark November day, we are all excused to go and think about what idols may be in our lives and what we need to do with them.
Please feel free to nap, as well. All this spiritual work can be exhausting!