There is a story about a baseball player who got up to bat. The pitcher threw and the player hit the ball way back to the fence in the outfield. He rounded 1st base, then 2nd, then 3rd, as he was heading home the other team was throwing the ball to the catcher to tag him out. The player slid into home just moments before the catcher tagged him. But the umpire called him, “Out!”. The player stood up and started arguing with the umpire, “I was there first!” The players team and all their fans stood up and started yelling at the umpire, protesting the call. The stadium was in an uproar. Finally, they allowed the umpire to speak over the sound system, and he said, “He never touched first base, he only rounded it. He touched 2nd, 3rd and then home base, but he missed 1st. That is why I called him ‘out’.”

Do you ever look back on your day or how you handled a situation and think, “I put in all that effort, and it did no good? It blew up in my face and wasted my time”? This can easily happen when we are the ones making all the decisions without listening for God to lead us. As Christians there is another way, a better way. Instead of charting our own path we have the God of the universe and His Holy Spirit wanting to help guide us through each day. Taking time to pray and listen for God to direct us may not come naturally, but if we pause before we start and listen for God to speak and show us, we won’t miss the most important thing. And let’s face it, who is going to know what is best, you or the God of all wisdom and knowledge, who loves you immensely?

Combination photography, paint and digital compositing. Peach colored rose against an “Old Master’s” painted background. Traditional oil painting look, good for background.

How do we grow in knowing God and His will? How can we gain wisdom and understanding? What can help us to be strong in our believing? The answer is to listen to what God has to say. In a relationship if we are the only ones talking and we are not taking time to listen we would call that a one-sided relationship. God desires to have a balanced relationship with us. He knows what is best and He loves us that is why He desires for us to come to Him and pour out our hearts to Him and then for us to be still and know Him.

“I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting for as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me.

Trust only in God every moment! Tell Him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to Him. Believe me when I tell you- He will help you!” Pause in His presence

Psalm 62: 1, 8 The Passion Translation

Learning to wait on God before we act takes courage and discipline. There are times our emotions are so powerful we can almost be swept away. However, an abundant life is not one that is led by our emotions, but one that is led by the Spirit. If we can find a way to pour out our hearts to God, try journaling or getting alone and talking aloud to God, we will find these emotions releasing and space will open up in our hearts and minds to hear from God. God wants to speak to us and be close to us. If you are having trouble hearing, try reading His word. You can even google scriptures that go along with your specific concerns. Also listen for God to reveal Himself to you through trusted Christian leaders and friends. When God speaks to us it brings peace and comfort because of His great love for us, so if what you hear is critical or condemning recognize that God never accuses us, He sent His Son Jesus Christ so we could be set free. His grace is our sufficiency.

Elevation Music has a song out called “Quiet” which encourages us to be still and listen to God.

“The only words that matter, they come from You. I’ll just be quiet and let You speak through the silence. Here I am no more hiding. You are in this moment I won’t fight it. I’ll be quiet.”

May God bless each of us as we quiet our hearts and minds and listen for His love to fill us, His grace to sustain us and His Spirit to lead us.

Betsy O’Callaghan