(August 26, 2014)
I am convinced that one of the greatest difficulties we will face in mortality is learning to “hear and know the voice” of the Lord. He speaks to us, pulling us towards Him with a gentle pull that is ever so easy to ignore or mistake. We must learn to accept this pull – setting aside our own wills, because our will can easily overpower the gentle whisperings by which He leads us.
C. S. Lewis, in Experiment in Criticism, spoke of the first rule of encountering art – setting aside our own preconceptions so that we can receive the art as it was rather than using the art for what we would use it for. Likewise, the first rule of revelation is setting aside ourselves, our own wills, and those things that we desire. There have been times when I have received what I thought were revelations that were ultimately nothing more than the subconscious expression of my desires. That is a constant danger when the voice of the Spirit is at times maddeningly still and frustratingly small.
But it is there. And those few experiences when I have unquestionably been blessed with the Lord’s Spirit have helped me to recognize the ‘flavor’ of the Spirit. I find myself more cautious than I once was – less willing to declare something inspiration quickly, more prone to patience in trying to fully understand the Lord’s instructions for me. I find that the Lord is understanding of this, so long as I make clear that when I am sure of my marching orders I will carry them out. When I make that commitment, I find the Lord is patient with me and will gently pull me in the direction He wants me to go until such time as I truly understand His will and feel empowered to follow it.
It is a consistent challenge, but one that I am resolved to work on.