Journey Sharing Group Discussion
Hearing God in the Here and Now is not as simple as it sounds. We tend to get so caught up in the emotions of life that we miss the voice of God embedded in the every day now of life.
The Lord typically uses His Word and then confirms that Word through a variety of creative means to get our attention. To guide us to listen. For example, He often seeks to get our attention through Scriptures we read in regular quiet times or that we hear through some other routine venue. He then continues speaking that same Scriptural truth through the ordinary concerns of life, general circumstances, movements of our heart during prayer times, sermons or songs, insights from Christian friends, and other ordinary pieces of life.
It’s so easy to miss the voice of God by fixating on our feelings at the moment. Yet what He is trying to communicate through things that incite our emotions is always far more important than the emotions themselves. Being obsessed with our feelings blinds and deafens us from seeing and hearing what matters; from hearing God in the here and now!
When people (parishioners) sin against us. When their sins leave us hammered with the threat of losing something, being marginalized, or being misunderstood, our natural reaction is to go into defense mode. Instantly fear, self-pity or anger consume our thoughts making us unable to hear our Lord’s love or call in the situation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about minimizing people’s sins. God is not ok with sin. You can be certain He will not ignore what was done; no one’s getting away with anything. Sin needs to be addressed and there are Biblical responses on our part to consider but that’s another subject for another time. (When an Oxymoron Steals Your Joy)
If we become fixated on our own hurt or outrage (which is our natural instinct), we will miss our Lord’s loving voice. He doesn’t minimize our hurt; He cares deeply. He understands perfectly and actually feels the pain with us. Ministry hurts hit hard and in a unique way –they have a spiritual assault component. Even when accusations are unjustified, we can still feel a sense of spiritual failure. All the more if there are parts of the accusation for which we are to blame. These are the times we need to remember: No one loves us like Jesus does—no one understands us like Jesus does! In the hurts and pains of ministry, He waits to comfort us, protect us and give us wisdom.
And beyond that, because He loves us so much, He wants to use those very hurts to shape and mold beauty in our souls. In His hands, even the sins of others toward us can be turned to our advantage. ALL things He works together for our good. But we must ACT not REACT.
The greatest danger is not so much the threat their wrongs have created, the greatest danger is us not allowing those wrongs to draw us closer to our Lord. Not discovering His heart for us deeper and stronger than we could have known if we hadn’t faced that hurt. Of us not hearing or addressing the issues their wrongs bring to the surface in us. For example, our need for deeper trust, our struggle with envy, our need to control, or hidden pride.
We are at risk of becoming bitter or despairing if we turn a deaf ear to the following realities:
- In ministry, most issues will not resolve overnight. Most ministry issues just plain take time; often a journey of years even.
- Needed resolutions are usually complicated by being contingent on the actions or growth of other people as well as our own spiritual maturity.
- God is patient as He develops our character. We must listen to Him so He can teach us how to extend that same patience to those we minister to. They are in different places of spiritual maturity; they are in process and on their own journeys.
We will miss so much wonder and beauty and soul-strength if we do not learn to listen… to Hear God in the Here and now; even in (especially in) the deep hurts of ministry life.
Open for Discussion: Can you relate to this? Do you Resonate? What has your experience been?
Prayer for Comfort when wronged, based on Psalm 62 in TPT
“I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the one I love, waiting as long as it takes for him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and he will not fail me. For he alone is my safe place. His wrap-around presence always protects me as my champion defender. There’s no risk of failure with God! So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me? God’s glory is all around me! His wrap-around presence is all I need, for the Lord is my Savior, my hero, and my life-giving strength. Join me, everyone! 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!” Selah