Can you hear me now?

My husband has said to me on multiple occasions, “For someone who doesn’t like change, you sure do change things a lot.” He’s right, I don’t like change. What I don’t like is huge, monumental changes like moving, changing jobs, death, illness, that kind of thing. I’m all about changing out my wardrobe. Like yeah, what woman doesn’t? I also like to paint, redecorate and move things around my house. Those are easy and refreshing changes that easily lift my spirits.

So recently it wasn’t unlike me to change my devotional habits. I’ve read through the Bible in its entirety several times and like most, find the genealogy chapters hard to get through along with some of the books and chapters on war and lengthy specifications and measurements, but none the less helpful in understanding the bigger picture. One day my daughter and I were discussing our current devotions and she mentioned a way of studying that her college roommate uses. Maybe you’ve heard about the acronym SOAP? It stands for S=Stand out scripture, O=Observations you have on that scripture, A=Applying it to your life and P=Prayer, which is journaled for review and re-visitation. I decided to start studying this way and began in the Old Testament Book of Nehemiah.

The Book of Nehemiah is a wonderful story of God’s favor, the commitment of the Jews to their community, the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem so they could better defend themselves, and Nehemiah’s decision to leave the comfort of his royal position to take on new possibilities as newly appointed Governor and overseer of the wall restoration. He leaves the king’s side with his blessings and letters of support for supplies and safe travels.

It’s a rather short book, but it packs a wallop detailing every step that Nehemiah took, how he rallied the Jews to work in specific areas, looked after their wellbeing and safety, appointed managers to the project, provided food and financial relief for the community. Nehemiah overcame naysayers, deflected potential death threats from his enemies, repopulated and purified returning Jews who had been slaves, and the list goes on until the completion of the wall.

I mention all of this to say to you, what is God calling you to do? Are you being called out of your comfort zone?

Last night my daughter called from college. Our conversation led to her impending mission trip next summer to work with the homeless in Las Vegas. She mentioned that of the 90 groups on campus who were organizing various mission trips initially, only about half remained. She said the common reason was “I don’t know if God has called me to do this trip so I’m not going.” Isn’t it so easy to blame God because in our option He didn’t speak loud enough for us to hear? Nehemiah didn’t hear, but he knew, was grieved at what he heard back home and then plunged in.

I reminded her that people expect to hear God’s audible voice saying in thunderous tones, “I HAVE CALLED YOU, SO GO!” Or maybe they’re expecting the phone to ring and it’s Him. There are many times when we don’t hear his audible voice but we must trust His heart. Until then we’re called to move forward until He opens whatever door needs to be opened. I liken it to walking up to the automatic doors of a store (not my store of course, I’m the door opener most days). You keep walking until you reach a sensor that opens the door. God’s the same way. He expects us to keep moving forward until He’s ready to open the door. My daughter admits that she’s not sure she’s heard from God, yet she’s going because it stretches and challenges her comfort zone much like Nehemiah. She believes that if she backs away, God will send someone else and that’s a blessing she doesn’t want to miss out on. Confirmation of whether she should be there or not may not be audible, but she’ll certainly know it to be true when she prays with that first homeless person or leads someone in the prayer of redemption. At that point, God’s voice will be very clear.

Nehemiah may not have heard God’s voice when he set out for Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, but he prayed about it, sought God and took the steps necessary to get the project going. He most assuredly heard God’s acknowledgement and pleasure, because Nehemiah was granted favor, wisdom and protection throughout. He had the burnt and broken wall replaced around the entire city in just 52 days. Nehemiah was ready for the change that God had planned without question.

I know that I’ve got big changes happening in my own life that I could have never have dared to dream or think possible. They scare me. They thrill me and I know they will challenge me. If they didn’t, I’d know that it wasn’t the right thing to do. I trust God to be alongside me every step of the way. So what change are you being called to make? Let me hear from you.

Until next time, stay chic

Vicki

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