10/20/16 Kevin about 30
The young man in business shirt and tie was new in Chicago, living in a rooming house and wondering where to live permanently, where to find friends, where to attend church. He had just gotten off the bus on his way home from work when we began a conversation with him as part of our Gospel outreach. "Kevin" (I forgot his name) told us of his faith in Christ from childhood, and how he is now seeking God's will in all the decisions he must make. He showed us the book he had in his hand as evidence, written by a popular prosperity preacher. He had one major question for us - "How can I hear God? I mean, I've never heard His voice or anything like that. How do you know when God is speaking to you?"
Good question. Marcus and I took turns sharing from our experiences. "I haven't heard God's voice either, not out loud anyway. For me, it's an inner affirmation. I remember the tremendous peace I had when I received answers for some major decisions." And both Marcus and I agreed that this inner peace comes when the different messages we allow to speak into our life are in agreement - our regular exposure to God's Word, our habit of prayer, our fellowship with other believers, and our God-given common sense. Judging from the book he was reading, Kevin might have been attempting to seek God's will indirectly, through the opinions and teachings of others rather than reading and praying through the Bible for himself. So we emphasized the need to confirm our decisions according to the Bible, because God doesn't contradict Himself or try to confuse us.
I left him with this encouragement, which Kevin seemed to really take to heart: "You need to remember that God wants His will in your life far more than you or I do, so the sincere prayer for God's will and direction in decision-making is always one He will honor, but according to His timetable, not yours." I wish I had thought of it, but I should have also emphasized to Kevin the importance of being responsive and obedient in all that we know we should do or avoid doing, and to act on the few steps ahead of us that God gives us before expecting Him to reveal those further ahead. Sometimes God has a foundation to lay in our lives before he can build our future.