Mar 21, 2019

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Post Office

With the risk of coming across weird(er), I will admit that I think I hear from God. No, not audibly, but deep in my spirit.

And, at the risk of exposing others; I will go out on a limb and state that MANY people will confess that they too hear from God.

I would love to say that it is an exact science or formula: I ask God something and He answers me; clearly and very concisely. But, if I did have that ability or gift, I would probably somehow misuse it for my own gain.

What I am referring to are the times when we hear a prompting to do something or to not do something and we either take action steps or we don’t.

Sometimes it is hearing where I placed my phone or keys. This has been very helpful in saving me valuable time of unnecessary searching.

Sometimes it is hearing to call or write someone who is struggling. Oftentimes the other person will communicate that what I did was exactly what they needed to hear during a time when they were struggling or sad or sick or...

Sometimes the sense is to not open an email or friend request on Facebook. And when I obey, I save the embarrassment of seeing images that I really didn't need to see.

I had one of those promptings today. I wrote a check to a ministry and placed it in an envelope to be mailed. In the past I would have just placed the envelope in my mailbox, put up the flag, and it would be picked up and delivered as per my request.

But, for the past six months, we have been having trouble getting our postal carrier to pick up the mail from our box. So, I made a decision to take the letter up to post office later in the day.

A short time later, I decided to take a walk and heard a prompting to take the envelope with me. I reasoned to myself that because the post office was in a completely different direction, I decided to NOT take the envelope with me and that I would stick to my original plan.

As I was putting on my boots, again I heard to take the envelope with me with further instruction that I would see a postal carrier on the way.

Still, I reasoned that I didn't want to misplace the envelope in my backpack and put the envelope in a place where I would see it when I returned home, after which I would take it to the post office.

As I headed out the door, I heard a third time to take the envelope with me. Again I ignored the prompting and continued on my journey.

As I crossed the street one block from my house, a postal carrier crossed my path. I stopped and briefly thought about heading back to retrieve the envelope so that I could give it to him. But I didn't and continued on my journey.

I went another block and once again, a different postal carrier was also crossing the road. Ok, that's two of them and I realized that I should have listened and obeyed. I continued on my journey, not letting the missed opportunity trip me up.

I walked another two blocks and, you guessed it, I spotted another postal carrier. This one was already on the other side of the street. 

I want to give you the full picture of my situation and state that the walk from my house to my destination was only five blocks! In my short journey I had three opportunities to hand my envelope to a postal carrier who would have taken it to the address on the envelope.

AND, even as I sit here and write this blog, another postal carrier came into the shop and briefly spoke with me! 

Four postal carriers in five blocks.

On the surface it may not have seemed like that big of a deal; but not obeying never really does seem like a big deal. Oftentimes, because of free will, we pick and choose what we obey and follow. 

But I had been given instructions and I had chosen to ignore them; and it cost me something. What it cost me was a piece of my heart that was now clouded by disobedience. 

I had justified not obeying, and anytime we do that we end up setting a course that has the potential of becoming a rut that will impede our drive through life... 

Which reminds me of a sign on the Oregon Trail that said; "Choose your rut wisely; you will be in it for the next 200 miles".

Oftentimes these ruts become a way of life and we grow cold and deaf to the promptings and end up missing out of the insight that God was trying to give us.

The solution is learning to listen to His voice and knowing what His voice sounds like so that when the promptings come, they can be followed knowing Who is speaking. 

Jesus said; "My sheep know My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:27) 

And: "Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (John 10:5) 

Simple obedience, in all things, is what He is looking for. This is for things that are wrong to do as well as things that He wants us to do. And to not follow them can mean life or death to us.

King Saul ran into this hard lesson in 1 Samuel 15. Saul was told by God to go attack and utterly destroy Amalek and EVERYTHING the Amalekites had. The LORD told Saul to fight against them until they were all consumed.

But Saul decided to ignore what he heard and kept alive the best of the livestock and Agag the King; destroying only the things that were despised and worthless.

Saul hadn't listened to the LORD, so God spoke to the prophet Samuel instructing him to go speak on behalf of the LORD to King Saul.

When confronted by Samuel, Saul rationalized that he had performed the commandment of the LORD and that the people had spared the lives of the animals so that they could be sacrificed to the LORD; as an offering...

Samuel told Saul that it is better to obey than sacrifice; in ALL things.

Not following what Saul was told to do cost him the kingdom. Because Saul rejected what the LORD said, He rejected Saul from being king. 

A simple act of not doing what the LORD had said was probably not done 'just this one time'. My guess is that Saul had developed a pattern (a rut) of not fully following what the LORD said; things that were wrong to do as well as things that were right to do. 

Saul had learned to rationalize and justify what the LORD had said one prompting after another; like me ignoring the prompting to take along a piece of mail...

I want to learn from my mistake as well as the mistakes of others like (the former) King Saul. 

I want to learn to say yes to whatever He says to do or to not do. 

I want to develop a rut of automatic obedience for His Name’s sake, as well the sake of others whose paths I cross.

Time for me to go mail my letter; which would've been half way to its destination if I had obeyed my prompting...