You've Got Mail
I was going through my email recently and stopped to marvel at this invention. What once used to take weeks now takes place in seconds. With the click of a few buttons I can write a letter to a friend in another city, another state, or another country and share what is going on in my life. Almost instantly it is there for them to view. I can open my inbox in the morning and be updated by friends and family, read my devotional, and get updates from various organizations I am a part of. It's an amazing invention!
Our ability to communicate with God isn't much different. We have a direct line to contact Him, a dedicated email address if you will. Many of us tend to use it as a one way form of communication-sending prayers out but never checking our inbox to see what He has to say. This tends to leave a person lost and confused. Imagine reading a long stream of email messages in which one party never reads the responses of the other:
~Dear God, my friend is really hurting right now, can you please remove them from the situation they are in? Thanks!
~Beloved Child, I hurt with your friend too, but there is a lesson in this situation for her that she must learn to be able to grow closer to Me. (James 1:2-4) This lesson will enable her to be such a blessing to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) and when she looks back she will be thankful for it. (James 1:12)
~Dear God, I don't get it! She is such a good person and she loves You so much! Why would you do this to her?!?!
~Beloved Child, did you not get my previous message? I love your friend even more than you. (John 15:13) I wish there was another way she could learn this lesson that did not cause her pain, but this is what is best. Trust me, I know that in the end it will be good for her (Jeremiah 29:11) and so many others that will be touched as a result.
~God! Aren't You even listening! Don't you even care!
I'll be honest. I've had several conversations with God that went a lot like this. I'm praying, but not taking the time to look in His word for the answer, or to be still and allow Him to speak to my heart, or worse yet - simply not trusting Him.
The truth of the matter is, a relationship with Jesus must be a two way conversation. He initiated it, He sent the first message on the cross. Have you responded? If the answer is "Yes" then you have an open line of communication available to you. Are you listening?
Listening involves taking the time to search His word for everything that pertains to your situation. In today's day that is as simple as typing in "Bible Verse about ____________" in your search engine. The Bible is God's first line of communication with you. Many of the issues you might be facing have already been addressed there. If you take the time to look and allow God to speak to your heart while you read you will often see His side of the conversation.
Listening may also mean being open to the words of friends. Keep in mind that even the best, most God-fearing friends can give advice that goes against God's will for you in a situation. So how do you know if what they are saying is a nudge from Him? Their words will speak to your situation and will confirm what God has already placed in your heart. Their words will line up with God's word, it won't go against scripture.
If you are still feeling unsettled after that, look for what we like to call "God Winks", those little moments or things that may seem insignificant to the world, but have special meaning for you. That one thing that speaks to your heart.. It reassures you that God has heard you or that you are on His path.
Don't miss out on the richness of a two sided conversation with God. Take the time to listen.