If you are a user of the Internet then you know that you must first get your modem connected with a server before you can have access to the unlimited knowledge base known as the World Wide Web. You are out of luck if the server is busy, right? You have probably sat there in front of your computer screen many times biting your fingernails or pulling your hair out as you heard the phone line ringing and ringing and never connecting. Or you can connect and then all of a sudden find your connection broken. You must find what is causing the problem and fix it.
Lots of things can break the connection between us and God. One of the most common things is distractions that turn us from His voice.
Luke 10:340 says that Martha was too busy to hear Jesus because she was distracted by meal preparations. Several years ago newspapers told how a new Navy jet fighter shot itself down. Flying at supersonic speed, it ran into cannon shells it had fired only a few seconds before. The jet was traveling too fast! If we don’t have time to spend with God, talking to Him and listening to His voice, we are traveling too fast as well. You better slow down before you shoot yourself down!
Sometimes when I am too busy during the day and neglect my relationship with God I find myself waking up during the night for no reason and just laying there. I’d learned to use that time to pray and reconnect with God. It’s His way of calling me aside to be with Him. Nancy does the same when I neglect spending quality time with her. She doesn’t wake me up during the night, but she does let me know I have been neglecting our relationship. Is God trying to tell you right now that you’ve been neglecting Him? Listen to what He says!
I find my best time to spend with God is first thing in the morning, often before even getting out of bed. Once I go downstairs, bring in the paper and turn on the computer its much harder for me to give Him the full attention He deserves. Some find evenings work best for them. Whatever it is, just make sure you do it and not let business get in your way.
Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do today that I shall never get through it with less than three hours’ prayer.” Charles Spurgeon said, “I always feel that there is something wrong if I go without prayer for even half an hour in the day.”
Even when times are busy, we must learn to listen. Many years ago before electricity, people had ice houses to store ice from the winter so they could use it in the summer. They would put layers of sawdust all around each block to insulate it and keep it from melting. One day a worker in an ice house lost a very special watch, given him by his father before he died. He and several others dug all through the sawdust but could not find it. After hours of labor they gave it up as lost. A young boy had heard of the problem and went into the ice house after all the others left. Five minutes later he came out with the watch, to the astonishment of all. When asked how he found it so easily the boy said, “I just went in t here by myself, closed the door, lay very still on the sawdust and listened real hard.”
When do you best hear from God? What can you do to counter the noises and distractions that keep you from hearing from God?
A second interference that can block us from hearing God’s voice is disappointment. The Psalmist cries, “O my God, I cry out day by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent” (Psalm 22:2).
It is very likely that Jonah’s family was killed by the Assyrians, so when God sent him to bring them a message that would spare them from judgment, he didn’t want to listen to God.
When our prayers don’t seem to be answered like we’d like, we sometimes stop praying and drift from God. When we feel hurt by someone, we withdraw from them.
I remember when, as a new Christian, I prayed for something very important to me. I believed God wanted me to ask Him for it and that if I prayed and believed God would answer that prayer. He didn’t and I was confused and devastated. I had a decision to make: withdraw from God because I was disappointed in His will or trust Him anyway.
Daniel had to pray for three weeks before he received God’s answer (Daniel 10:12-14). We may have to pray for three years, or thirty years.
Can you think of a time in life when you withdrew from God because you were disappointed in His will for you? Are you distant from Him now because you don’t like something He is doing in your life?
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)