Maybe you’re seeking God’s direction in something specific right now, but he seems to be silent. Why isn’t he answering you? Why isn’t he making this clear? Why can’t he just tell you what to do next?
It’s like Google maps on your phone withholding the next turn from you, and you’re growing anxious thinking this can’t be the right way. You’re waiting, and waiting, as you keep going and going, but still no voice guiding you with your next turn. So what do you do?
Seriously, what do you do when your GPS stops working on the highway and you have no clue where you’re at or really where you’re going? I’ll tell you what I do. I pull that car over! I find the first available gas station or parking lot, and I whip that car in, I grab my phone, and I seek direction again.
Why? Because I know I’m not getting there on my own. There’s absolutely zero chance I can navigate on my own. I’m fully dependent upon a step by step guide telling me where to turn. I will NOT continue down some unknown road without continual consultation with Google Maps.
So, there’s our answer. What do you do when you’re seeking God’s guidance, but you feel like he’s being silent? What do you do when you know a turn is needed, but you don’t know which turn is the right one? Honey, you pull this thing over and consult the guide! You grab the guide in your hands, you lean in closer, and you ask again!
I’m trying to get to the Target. This is very important. I need more of those fabulous $8 ribbed tanks in all the colors, NOW HOW DO I GET THERE? What do I need to do from where I am to get to where I need to go? When the kind lady in my Google Maps starts talking to me again, then I get back on the highway.
The process of slowing your roll, grabbing the guide in your hands, leaning in closer, and asking again is THE ANSWER!
God is always speaking to us. He is continually guiding and prompting us, we just occasionally lose the connection.
Have you lost the connection? Did you once feel like you were better guided by God than you are now? Was there a time when you felt sure of his promptings, now you’re wandering in circles not sure of your exit? It’s time to get reconnected! And God has a truly simple re-connection process for us.
We find our guide for re-connection to the guidance of God right here in the teachings of Jesus. John 10: 27-28 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.”
The relationship between a shepherd and his sheep is our re-connection guide. A shepherd knows his sheep, and a sheep knows the voice of his shepherd. Literally. It’s not just sweet imagery, it’s absolute truth.
A shepherd may have hundreds of sheep, but he has a name for each one of them. He distinctly knows Fuzzy from Wooly, and Periwinkle from Penelope. When one is missing, he knows precisely which one it is. “Ahhhh, good ol’ Margaret has wandered off again. I know she often gets lost down in that valley where the dandelions grow. I’ll go call her out before it gets dark.”
This is Jesus with us. He knows us intimately. He knows your name. He knows your incessant love for icecream, TikTok, wine, and Amazon, which derail you and throw you into a valley of shame. He’s found you in that valley many times, and every time he has come to call you out. Never once has he given up and moved on without you. Never once has he declared you a lost cause. Without fail, he has come back for you. Every time you failed. Every time you got stuck. Every time you got lost. Every time you just gave up. Every time you checked out. Every time you screwed this up. Every time you wandered off. Here comes your shepherd, calling your name, calling you back to his flock.
Now, here’s the really big takeaway for you today. Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice.” You follow him because you know his voice from the rest of the noisy world. You know his voice over your own voice.
You have your own voice, right? That voice that can really confuse you and lead you down some sketchy butt alleys. That voice that only wants it your way, and wants it right now. That voice that twists and contorts things into selfish desires and derails you into a pit of despair faster than you can lick the residue off your fingers or hide that Amazon package that just showed up on the porch.
Yeah, how do you know the voice of Jesus over your own jacked up voice? How do you know that the prompting to turn here is the prompting you should be following versus the prompting you should be ignoring?
You’re facing big decisions. Do you leave this job, or do you stay? Do you give him another chance, or do you declare the last time was really the last time? Do you try again, or do you stop here? Do you go here or there? Do you do it now or later? Is it a yes or a no? JESUS, WHAT ARE YOU TELLING ME?!!!!!
You’re wanting the shepherd’s voice this time, right? You don’t want to be fooled by your own voice that leads you astray. You don’t want to be influenced by the noise of the world. You truly desire to hear Jesus’ instructional steps here. You’re at this place where you know your way isn’t always the best way, and you fully surrender to God’s good plan over your bright ideas. But dang if the shepherd’s voice isn’t nearly impossible to hear right now!
JESUS, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? TELL ME LOUD AND CLEAR!
This is the part where you pull the car over and you lean in close. You grab that GPS in your hands and you ask again. SIRI, WHERE IS THE TARGET?!!!!!
GOD, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO HERE AND I’M NOT HEARING YOUR VOICE.
The sheep know the shepherd’s voice because of the time they have spent with him. They have a relationship with their shepherd that has developed because of the continual closeness in proximity.
Flocks of sheep with different shepherds can be mixed, with thousands of sheep all herded together, yet when a shepherd calls out, his sheep respond to his voice and come. The others will remain with the crowd, but his specific sheep know his voice. Likewise, when another voice calls out for them, they will not respond because they know that is not the voice of their shepherd. They cannot be fooled.
It was once questioned if perhaps the sheep were responding to their shepherd’s clothing over his voice, so they had shepherds trade clothes. No, the sheep were not fooled. Regardless of appearances, it was still the voice that called them.
This is Jesus’ desire for us. Regardless of appearances, regardless of how these circumstances look, regardless of the noise of the world, regardless of that untrustworthy voice of your selfish desires, you KNOW HIS VOICE. And it’s his voice you respond to.
This confidence in the shepherd’s voice comes only as a result of relationship. Time spent together.
I have a few friends that rarely have a conversation that doesn’t include the words “God showed me”, or “God said to me”. Why do those friends always hear from God? Why is God always showing them things? Well, I figured it out. It’s because those friends are always spending time with God! They are the ones investing time daily in their relationship with Jesus.
So, I decided I wanted to be one of those friends. I want to be a friend who God shows things to. I want to be a friend who God talks to. And hot dang if it doesn’t work. I started spending more time snuggled in close with God, and I now know his voice from all the other voices. I hear from him all the time. He continually prompts my spirit, opens my eyes, and drops golden nuggets into my thoughts. I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to stir it up or concoct it. He FOR REAL TALKS TO ME. And here’s the thing I now realize. He’s always been talking to me, I just didn’t know his voice before. I lost it for a while.
Honey, when you stop spending time with God, you stop recognizing his voice. When you allow your life to become so busy and distracted with everything else, which is not only easy to do but darn hard to avoid doing, then you begin to lose the familiarity with his voice.
That’s why you’re confused. That’s why you’re wandering. It’s not because God has left you. It’s not because you’ve run so far outside of his will that you can’t find your way back. It’s not that you’re now unworthy of ever coming back. It’s simply because you aren’t recognizing your shepherd’s voice any more after too much time away.
Come back to him. Come back to time snuggled in close to him. Come back to talking to him when you’re driving. Come back to starting your day on your knees. Come back to reading his word. Come back to music that praises him. You will start recognizing his voice again. You’ll begin to be prompted by him again. The turn will be made clear.
I can’t get to the Target with Google Maps. I for sure know I can’t get to my destiny without Jesus, so I’m staying close!