God Told Me
I have always been more than a little skeptical of Christians who use the phrase, “God told me…” Or, “I have a word from the Lord…” You have to admit, it is quite a conversation stopper, isn’t it? If God told you, then I guess any other point of view is moot. Indeed, if God did tell them something, then any other piece of the puzzle is moot. However, I suspect some Christians may, wittingly or not, say it when they really aren’t open to any other counsel. Or when they really don’t want to be bothered with pesky details of reality in dissecting a problem, when they just want to follow their feelings. Or worst, when they confuse their own desires for God’s voice. But in conversation anyway, they get an awkward spiritual pass as long as they say, God told me.
On the other hand.
Which is why God gave us two hands. He told me. ;-)
Recently some of my best Christian people have flung the God told me thing at me, and actually, maybe God really did tell them. Whaddya know? Three stories:
Even as I type, Josiah and Ivy are painting our kitchen and family room. Tom and I agonized for weeks, even months, over what color to paint the new kitchen. I hired an interior decorator over TWICE to help me choose a color that would work well with the new cabinets and the granite. We lived with samplings on the walls of the first color, a soft green, but eventually decided we needed a neutral instead. We lived with a sampling of the neutral on the wall for weeks, but we just couldn’t warm up to it either. Argh!!!
So then one day Tom sat in the kitchen for a quiet time, looked over into the dining room and noticed the dining room color, a beautiful color called Latte. He decided God had told him that we should paint the kitchen and family room the same color as the dining room. Eye roll. Well, I thought, I guess that’s the end of *that* discussion. And hello, why didn’t you ask Him *before* I had paid the decorator to come over twice???
But at this moment, Josiah and Ivy are busily Latte-ing the kitchen, and it is very, very lovely. It’s light, airy and cheerful, the very feel I was looking for, and it works well with the cabinets. We had been barking up the wrong tree with our other choices.
Well, all right. Maybe God did tell him what color to paint the walls.
I have a dear, sweet friend who, before she was a dear sweet friend, decided she had heard from God that she was to mentor me. I wasn’t so sure about this, but I wasn’t going to be rude either. I was helping her with some editing she needed on her doctoral thesis, so we had occasion to meet regularly over a period of time. She was very proactive in getting to know me and my family, taking a deep and personal interest in everything to do with my life. She was completely transparent about her own life and struggles and brought a God-perspective into every conversation. All in all, she was irresistible, and I have found myself thankful for her wisdom and godly counsel time and time again. I am just thankful for such a godly friend on whom I can count for prayer when I need it.
Soooo, maybe God did tell her.
Today a friend gave a small luncheon for another gal and me. The other gal graciously brought a small bouquet of yellow and orange flowers as a hostess gift. As it happened, our hostess had put some yellow tulips on the table, and the new bouquet looked beautiful with them. The gal told us that when she was at the store, she really liked the purple and white bouquet better, but something told her to buy the yellow one.
Hmm. Maybe God told her.
Okay, one more story!
Many years ago I attended a BSF group led by a godly woman. At one point she told the story of how the BSF group began and how she came to be the teaching leader. She had been meeting regularly with a group of women to pray about starting another BSF group. Just pray. As she was having her devotions one day during this time, she felt a nudge to her heart that she was to be the teaching leader of the new group.
She didn’t say a word to anyone else about it. But soon afterward the rest of the group approached her saying that they believed God was telling them that she was to be the teaching leader. In that way she received confirmation that, indeed, she had heard from God.
It was not her own pride talking, nor was it indigestion. She also didn’t need to say a word to anyone or promote herself in any way.
There is only one Spirit, and He is fully able to corroborate His desires through others.
So now let me just tell you my own little moment…uncorroborated by others. Just a warm fuzzy between me and God.
I pray for my Reed. I pray for my wonderful and most precious Reed quite a lot these days. I perceive a battle for his affections in a sense – worldly versus Godly pursuits. So the other day I was walking and praying for him, asking for wisdom, and actually, kind of wondering why God hadn’t more obviously shown up in his life yet. I was wondering this very respectfully because I do believe that God has shown up. It’s just that Reed, I suspect, is still playing with fire. And so I was walking Oliver through the cemetery one beautiful day last week discussing this with my good and kind Father.
Just then Beatriz texted me: “Hey, guess who just graduated from the 190’s!?”
Bless her heart. Beatriz struggles with her weight. I began praying for her even as a child and all throughout middle and high school that God would help her with this. In college all her roommates were teeny, tiny morsels of femininity. I was so hopeful that they might have some positive influence on her eating habits. Instead it had the opposite effect. Many, even most, of them had struggled with the opposite type of eating disorders (anorexia/bulimia), and so she grew disdainful of their asceticism. Was she really disdainful, or was she using disdain as an excuse to not face her own demons? I don’t know, but she graduated from college and moved to Chicago for her first job still overweight.
Now, now, now, almost two years out of college, she is beginning to deal head-on with her unhealthy relationship with food, specifically with her sugar addiction. She is getting to the core of the problem. Of course, losing weight is a high! But she is focused first and foremost on the root of the problem. When she does get down to her healthy weight, I believe she will be there permanently.
And God chose that moment, as I was asking for His help in understanding why any progress with Reed was taking so long, to have Beatriz text me with her progress.
In the quiet places of my heart I felt like I understood. All those years I prayed for Beatriz and she didn’t lose weight, God was working. All those years, she could have lost weight in a matter of months! But it would have been a superficial fix. Her behavior is easy to control in the short term. The affections of her heart that guide her behavior are another matter entirely. And that’s where God, in His wisdom, had been working all those years I was praying for her. He had been busy laying the groundwork for a more permanent remedy.
Just like Josiah spent so much time repairing the walls and priming before he actually got to work putting on the pretty color.
And so my heart was comforted for Reed. Making his behavior conform to conventional Christian standards is easy. Any monkey can be taught to behave. But God is interested in Reed’s heart being His. He is interested in Reed hearing the voice of his Savior and falling in love. He wants Reed to come to Him willingly and adoringly, drawn by the Father’s all-consuming love for his very soul. The behaviors will follow.
I felt like God “gave me a word.” “God told me…”
In the quiet place of my heart, I did feel like God had whispered a special secret into my ear. A special secret just for me. “I’m working, honey. You’ll see. It’ll be great.”
So what do you think? Was this just personal angst mixed with hopefulness? Was it indigestion? Or did God really whisper into my heart? I won’t know for a while. In the meantime, I won’t be broadcasting it either. It is just a moment I’ll hold onto and treasure privately.