I’m sure it seems that I always get hearing God’s voice right. At least, by the time I get to tell the story. God speaks, I hear. God confirms, I act. God moves, and Voila!
But there are other stories I haven’t shared. Times I got his voice wrong.
One of those was back in my mid 20s. Things were going great. I was being trained and mentored by the Senior Pastor of my church. I had lots of like-minded friends. I was motivated and excited because God had spoken.
It was one of those life-changing moments you don’t easily forget; “I’m going to raise you up and you’ll be in full-time ministry,” God said.
How wonderful! I thought.
Then I added; Here in this church for the rest of my life.
It was after all, an awesome church. I loved the vision and the heart of the team. People believed in me and I felt so at home. It was all perfectly clear. This is where I would be released. This is where God’s promises would come to pass. Already I had my own desk in an alcove at the end of the hallway.
Perhaps that was why a couple of years later when God spoke to me about full-time ministry somewhere else, I was completely devastated; “But God you said?!”
I was sure he said it.
No he hadn’t. He had given me one part of the picture and I had filled in the rest myself.
As I look back on my conversations with God, I’ve noticed this has happened more than once. I’ve got it wrong because I took God’s words and added to them. When he only gave me a black and white sketch, I coloured it in. And of course, I got the colours wrong.
We’re all vulnerable to this. In our desire for certainty, we take what we see and use it to try and finish the scene. We add in our own tastes and desires. We use what we know to fill in what we don’t.
While God’s words are a lamp for our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105), we are also called to trust him to direct that path (Proverbs 3:5-6). It’s a privilege to hear from God, but it doesn’t mean we have all the details. It doesn’t mean we see the full picture. Only God knows that and though we sometimes get a glimpse, it’s still only a glimpse. As the Apostle Paul writes, we see a mere reflection – as in a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12).
It’s essential then, that we approach all our God conversations from a position of humility and trust. God always holds the final card, and I’ve found that even if he does let us in on some of his hand, he still likes to play it at the last minute!
Have there been times in your life when you’ve got hearing God’s voice wrong? What have you learned from them? Share here.