Stop and Listen
Reading: Acts 8, 9
I was reading a friend’s post earlier this morning (http://www.jewelsofencouragement.com/2011/11/you-cant-get-there-from-here.html ) and it resonated with me. Jan used the analogy of a GPS (Global Positioning System) to describe how God gives us direction in our lives (God’s Positioning System).
GPS has its uses but, confess it, sometimes you’d just like to chuck it out the window under the wheels of the semi-trailer two feet behind your back bumper! That pleasant, but annoying voice telling you to do what you can see with your own eyes is not what needs to be done, does get on the nerves. How do you explain to a GPS that you are NOT going to take the most common route because you know a less-traveled and more pleasant route along the side roads?
As I was reading the passage from Scripture assigned to me for today, I was reminded about what Jan had written and how it might have applied to the main character in the passage. Saul, as he then was called, was in desperate need of a GPS. Physically he was on the right road. He was on his way to Damascus and it doesn’t seem like he was having any trouble finding his way. But though he was on the right road, Saul was on the wrong path. Religious fervor fed by Stephen’s death and the consequences of that (Acts 8:1) sent Saul on a rampage. He knew what direction he was going in and how he was going to get there (Acts 9:1, 2).
An ordinary GPS has a pleasant, friendly voice so when it tells you that you’ve missed your turn or that it has to recalculate, it does so politely. Saul would not have listened to attractive, soft-spoken or polite. He had killing on his mind.
So God yelled!
A blinding light and a sound like thunder (Acts 9:3, 7) threw him to the ground. It was a good thing he was walking and not driving!
Yesterday, another friend posted a comment on FACEBOOK that also fits here. She said that she was thinking of taking a break from social media for a while but still hadn’t made up her mind if she would, or could, do it. I responded to her post by saying that I had recently read that sometimes fasting doesn’t have anything to do with food. The writer of this particular book commented that if we wanted to hear God’s voice and grow more intimate with Him, we might need to schedule a “fast” from the communication devices that consume our lives. God really doesn’t want to have to shout. He’d prefer to whisper as He once did in the ears of the prophet, Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Saul’s head was full of murder. There was no room for the gentle voice of God so the Lord had to take drastic measures to get his attention.
Perhaps it’s time for us to take a communication break, to shut out the noise of the world over which God is trying to shout. Perhaps it’s time to tune everything and everyone out and just let Him talk. In the process we might discover that though we may have been on the right road, we have not been on the right path. Or, we may find out that we have missed the road completely.
We might also discover that we’ve been on the right road and the right path, but God has been trying to tell us to take a break at the nearest rest stop and just listen.