Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hearing Him in the Darkness

(Guest Writer: Bubba Hoelzer )

Every day I read My Utmost for His Highest.  It is one of my favorite devotionals and today’s devotion spoke to my heart:

Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into “the shadow of His hand” until we learn to hear Him (Isaiah 49:2).

“Whatever I tell you in the dark. . .”  — pay attention when God puts you into darkness, and keep your mouth closed while you are there.

Are you in the dark right now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? If so, then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will speak while in the wrong mood— darkness is the time to listen.

Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason for the darkness; just listen and obey. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else once you are back in the light.

Yes Lord, when you bring me thru darkness in my life, complaining only defeats Your purpose for me. Talking to others about my struggles does not help my darkness—and more times than not it can drag them into my dark circumstances.

Yes, Lord, the wise thing to do is listen and obey. The only one I should speak to is You during times of darkness. Even if I shout to You it is better than a whisper to another. My heart and dependence must remain upon You and not the counsel of others. 

Listening and obedience are very difficult for us when we are feeling all alone and less than able to walk the steps You have called us to during in our everyday life. But Your power can only be funneled into me during these trying times as I focus all attention on you. This same lesson You taught to the children of Israel when they come to the bitter waters of the desert. Their nature was to complain, but You began to teach them the power of listening and obeying and having total trust in You. It was after they heard Your words to them that they found an oasis in the desert.

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.” After leaving Marah, the Israelites traveled on to the oasis of Elim, where they found twelve springs and seventy palm trees. They camped there beside the water. Exodus 15:26-27 (NLTSE)

While reading the story of the two blind men in Matthew I realized they were living in total darkness—both physically and spiritually. As they were sitting in their usual spot they were listening to a large crowd passing by and heard that Jesus was coming. They began to cry out to Jesus and did not seek or follow the aid or counsel of those around them.

In fact, when the crowd told them to be quiet, they became more focused on Jesus and called all the louder. They had no way of knowing if Jesus had already passed them and gone on his way, but they continued seeking Him in their darkness until they personally heard the Master’s voice. Then in an attitude of obedience they were able to hear and in response to His question, simply responded, "We want to see".

This moved Jesus to touch their eyes and remove the darkness from them. The power to radically change their situation came thru listening for Jesus and then hearing His voice.  All of this was done with humble and obedient hearts. Light flooded their eyes and their hearts as they submitted themselves to Him.  See Matthew 20:29-34.

A grumbling, self-centered, self-pitying and immature attitude will never move the spirit world on my behalf. Praise and perseverance are the only way thru, but honestly I often feel that I am wavering deep within myself teetering to and fro.

One minute remembering the truth, the next hearing a lie. Why, Lord, do I struggle with raw emotions when others achieve more than I can? This should not make me feel as if I am less than, but it does. I know that it is only when I am secure in the fact that You love me and created me special for your purpose that these fleshly emotions will begin to cease.

Lord, I want to strive to remember all the great things you have done in my life. I choose to press on to remember all the great things I have seen You do. I will cling to the truth that you have been there and moved obstacles that were not possible for anyone other than You to move. I am listening, Lord, and need to hear my Master’s Voice to give me the strength to continue. I am willing to be obedient, but I must hear Your words in me to give me the confidence I need to be victorious. I am listening for You. 

I hear You say:
"I am the Lord, your God that opened the Red Sea, am I not powerful enough to open your mouth"?

"The words you will use, whether many or few will be inspired by me".

"The words will indeed come, but it is the heart from which they will spring that I am shaping now".

"My Spirit within you, when needed, will form the words of your tongue, as well as forming the example your life will portray".

Those who seek will find and blind eyes will see and deaf ears will be opened.  Tongues will be loosed and the lame will jump for joy. 

The next time you are struggling, and feel the darkness of life covering you, submit your life to Him, walk in obedience to His word, turn your ear to no other and you too will hear the Master’s Voice.

(Copied with permission.)

Post Script: Bubba and his wife Cathy are M-workers among our cousins here in Africa. Please pray for them to be used powerfully for His glory among the tribes. His insights have blessed me over and over this week. I pray they bless you all as well.
Love ~SW