Friday, August 22, 2008

If Only...

I was reading a daily devotional this morning and it just really resonated with me and I really felt that God was convicting me in this message and I wanted to pass it along to you all.

Heart Whispers

"A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it." Job 4:12

If only I had called her.

If only I had listened to that little voice in my head that nudged me to call her several times over the past few months. Although we were casual acquaintances whose paths did not cross very often, I still considered her a friend and a dear sister in Christ. She had been fighting cancer for years, but had recently been in remission and in good health. More than a year had passed since we had spoken, but we would still smile and wave at each other at church.

For several weeks recently, this friend kept coming to mind. I had felt God laying her on my heart, and I kept intending to call her, but would get busy and forget. Then I arrived at church one Sunday morning, only to read the shocking news that she had passed away. I was stunned. I had seen her fairly recently, buzzing around the sanctuary, and she looked great, but now she was gone. Now it was too late to call her. The door of opportunity to hear her kind voice had slammed shut.

If only I had listened to that inner voice of the Holy Spirit prompting me to pick up the phone to call and check on her. I was unaware that she was sick again, but God knew.

If only I had stopped whatever I was doing, and taken just a few minutes to let her know I was thinking of her. I was unaware of her need to be remembered, but God knew.

If only I had called her, and let her know how her unshakable joy had impacted my walk with God. I was unaware of her need for encouragement, but God knew.

Tears filled my eyes as I considered not only the loss of this sweet, precious woman, but my own remorse for not listening to God's whispers to my heart. God's ways are not our ways, as we are told in Isaiah 55:8, and I have learned through this experience to always listen to the quietest of voices, and recognize that this voice is holy.

I now understand that when I suddenly feel the need to call someone whom I haven't thought of, spoken to, or seen in months or even years, that it may be God Himself whispering to my heart. When I have an urge to tell someone I love them, even though I am sure they already know it, God is whispering to my heart. When I find myself dropping by to visit someone in the hospital that I don't know well or possibly do not them at all, God is whispering to my heart.

God knows what His children need, and He uses each of us to meet those needs. Just because we don't have all the answers yet, or do not know why God is prompting us to do a certain thing, doesn't mean we should ignore the whisper. His ways are not our ways... but His way is the best way... and the necessary way.

When I learned of my friend's passing, I made a commitment to myself and to God that I will never again ignore even the tiniest, quietest whisper from the Holy Spirit. I will pray for discernment and whether He tells me to make a big sacrifice, or simply make a phone call, my hope is that I will step out in faith and obey, without delay.

If God has been whispering to you about someone or something, listen to those whispers. Don't discount them. Pray for discernment and be willing to take action, even if you don't fully understand the reason yet. Unfortunately, the consequence of not listening to those whispers, could result in you having to say, "If only ..." just like me.

Have you heard His whisper?


God is never in the loudness and busyness around us. You have to turn off the TV and radio, you have to make the choice to go up to your room and close the door, you have to ignore the ringing phone or the emails calling your name. Once you do that, you have to, as this devotional suggests, be willing to listen and act on those promptings, no matter how little sense they make. If you don't, you might be left with regrets or missed opportunities to experience God working in your life. There have, unfortunately, been so many times that I didn't listen to God's whisper. Several times they ended up in injury, severe regret, and/or missed opportunities.

I remember one time when I was back in High School, I was leaving the house to run an errand, and I just kept having this feeling that I shouldn't be leaving- it was something that I couldn't shake. But, I ignored it and went along my way. The feeling wouldn't leave me and, because of that, I was driving much more cautiously and slower than I normally would. Well, I turn the corner and there are two parked cars on either side of the road from me. I'm approaching one of the cars and a little boy in his boy scout uniform dashes out from behind one of the cars, running over to his mom in the other car. I slammed on the breaks and stopped just short of hitting him. Had I been going at the normal speed, I probably would have hit him. Thank the Lord that, even though I didn't listen to Him, He still saved me from having potentially injured (or worse) that little boy.

I think that I should, also, set things straight in that I'm not hearing an audible voice of God. Not even what you would, technically, call a whisper. It's more of a thought will just come into my mind, out of nowhere, or I'll remember something or a piece of scripture will come to mind that applies to the situation I'm praying about. Sometimes I wish that I heard an audible voice... but, then, knowing me, I'd worry that I'd developed another personality :-) kidding...