It’s Friday night. I’m at a retreat center up in the mountains with a bunch of single Christians; all ages but mostly “a bit older,” all colors, all backgrounds. We ate dinner and did ice breakers and worshiped and received an awesome, reality-based teaching from our first wonderful keynote. Now it’s free time, and everyone’s dancing and yakking and walking around exploring, but I want to get this off my heart to you.
I was walking from my cabin to a location where I could plug in my laptop and not disturb my roommates. As I walked, I listened to the rustle of the wind playing with the tree boughs. I could hear crickets. Lots of them. I looked up and actually could see the stars. Nature often draws my attention back to the Lord, and I think that He designed it that way, you know (Psalm 19:1)?
When I feel a gentle breeze, it almost feels like a little kiss, a quick brush from my Heavenly Father’s lips to my cheek or something. When I feel a strong wind, it feels like a strong hug from the Lord. Seeing the stars gets me awestruck at His majesty, power, and creativity.
I love sensing His nearness and love in the unordinary places, like when I travel long distances or go to retreats or to the beach. But I also sense His nearness and love in the ordinary places.
I sense Him in His beauty and perfection in creation when I see a flower, especially a perfect flower, even if it’s just a weed. I love to hear the sound of crickets cricking and frogs croaking at night. They remind me of summer evenings when I was a kid and life was much simpler; it was God’s simpler life. When I see a baby, the loving, nurturing heart of God rises up within me and I smile in wonder and adoration at His tiny human creation. I sense Him in His holy, cleansing power after it rains when I smell its earthy dampness wafting through the window. And I always love a good sunset; it’s my Heavenly Father tucking me in for the evening. If the sunset is at the beach, I think of the Lord romancing my soul.
Do you look for opportunities to sense His presence everyday in ordinary places? The old-timers used to call this minute-by-minute God-awareness, “practicing the presence of God.” Brother Lawrence wrote the classic Practicing the Presence of God centuries ago, but his words still speak to us from his heart, which was established in eternity.
The Lord is speaking. He’s loving. He’s moving in your life. Are you listening? Are you paying attention?
Can you hear Me now? says the Lord to you and to me as we wake up to the stillness of the night or early morning.
Can you hear Me now? says the Lord as you step into the quietness of your car before you turn on the ignition and the radio.
Can you hear Me now? says the Lord when a butterfly or a bee darts past your face and flies away.
Can you hear Me now? says the Lord when the unexpected disaster crashes and implodes your world.
Can you hear Me now? says God when you return to your lonely abode at the end of the day and you want to come home to your spouse instead.
He wants to speak to us all the time. We’re always on His mind and He always has a message for us… a message of love and hope, a message of warning and truth, a message of deliverance and destiny, a message of life and joy and peace. Sometimes the bigger problem is not that He’s not speaking, it’s that we’re not listening.
Sometimes we’re not even looking for Him. We expect to hear from Him in church, or through the Bible or preaching (sometimes). But… outside of church?
As Christians who are single, we often get ourselves so busy that we forget to look for His presence speaking to us all throughout the day. It’s especially prevalent in ministry circles when leaders get busy ministering to others but don’t necessarily have their hearts filled up to overflowing with His grace and truth. That overflow is what we are to minister to others from. But He is still speaking.
He speaks to us in the most unexpected places. But He speaks.
The Lord shows up in the most unexpected places. But He shows up.
He wants to remind us of Who He is, all day, every day, so that we can remember Whose we are, all day, every day. Often He has to train us to hear His voice and His love so that we can stay grounded as to Whose we are. He wants to make sure that we always recognize His voice, no matter what the circumstance is.
I sometimes get too busy and sort of “forget” Whose I am and what He wants me to remember. Those daily reminders flit by my senses and captivate my soul. They reorient me back to His heart for me.
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me, says the Lord in Psalm 50:15.
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know, says the Lord in Jeremiah 33:3.
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him, says the Lord in Psalm 91:14-15.
What will it take for you to slow down “just enough” to hear His still small voice say
I made you.
When I died for your sins, I remade you.
I still love you.
I want what is best for you.
Listen to My heartbeat for you.
Here is my kiss on the winds to you.
Come over here. Let’s sit and talk for a bit. We haven’t talked for awhile, my dear child.
I have loving reminders to whisper in your ear.
I have promises for your heart to receive.
I have risks for you to take.
Dear child, let’s talk about what you have been through and what I now have for you.
I love you.
As summer fades into autumn, be sure to stop several times a day and cock the ears of your heart for His loving words of truth, grace, and exhortation. It’s only going to get busier as the holidays race through your calendar. Take time many times each day to look eagerly for those secret reminders of His glory and presence. Those secret encounters with the Lover of your soul is what will guide, guard, and strengthen you during the days to come.
Watch and listen closer. Can you hear Him now?