I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.” – John Henry Newman
In college my dream was to become a professional basketball player. I practiced and practiced but had a difficult time getting playing time during the games. It was a real crisis for me, so I went before the Lord. “This plan isn't working. What do You have for me?”
That summer I went on a trip with Sports Ambassadors. My team went to the Philippines, and while I was there, the Lord spoke to me in quiet ways through various people. In a tiny village, I met a pastor who'd lived there five years and had five people, including him, in his church: his wife, a leper boy, and two others. While he loved his community, the villagers hated him – they even threw things at him as he walked down the street. Yet he never lost his smile. This man had discovered God's will for his life.
As I observed this pastor's heart, something started to beat inside my own. I asked God if that's what He wanted me to do, and in my spirit I sensed a silent yes.
Our plane landed back in the States, and before I'd even disembarked, I received an invitation to South America. I raced home, ran upstairs, traded my summer gear for winter, and went back to the airport. We were in South America for five weeks, and at the end of that time, one of the pro teams talked to me about a spot on their team. It was my dream, and I was like, “Yes, Jesus.”
But two seconds later, I got a silent no. Why? Because I'd already received a yes to something else.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1a)
I wonder which is more difficult – hearing God's voice or submitting to God's voice? What a privilege it is to hear the inner voice of God! Yet as we learn to listen, we must also learn to accept the yes alongside the no.
Jesus, sometimes I just stand and admire the invitation, forgetting that I'm supposed to be listening and adventuring through this life with You and Your Spirit. Enable me to not only listen, but also respond! Amen.