I’m participating in the Beth Moore scripture something-or-other team. I love Beth Moore. Do you know her? She is one of my spiritual gurus. A brilliant woman who walks with Christ and is right there with me on my level. She’s uncovered and explained many issues in my walk with God through books, Bible studies, and her blog. You can read about this scripture memorization thingamajigger over at http://blog.lproof.org
Basically she challenges us to memorize 24 scriptures during the year. Two a month. That’s pretty do-able. To participate, you pick a verse that is relevant to where you are right then in your life. If you don’t have one, you can always use the one she posts. I didn’t know what verse to choose, until Sunday when I experienced a crisis of faith.
I got a notion to visit someone in the hospital this past weekend. I don’t really know why, it’s not something I regularly do. The person in the hospital is not someone whom I hang out with, or talk with on the phone. We’ve never gone for ice cream or pedicures, she’s just someone I sort of know. An acquaintance really. But I got a strange feeling I should visit her.
I don’t know how you feel about hearing from God, or if you even believe He speaks to us at all, but I do and I try to remain open to His voice. I believe He works in small and mysterious ways. I know His plans are good for me, and I don’t want to miss out on something He has in store. So I considered this might be God talking to me and decided to be obedient, despite the awkwardness of it.
So after dinner (which means lunch) on Sunday, I drove my husband and niece home and was on my way to the store to get a flower or something for the patient. “But first”, I told myself, “I need to get on facebook and check her wall to see if she’s still in the hospital. I’d hate to waste my time and be embarrassed at the nurse’s station if she’s no longer there.”
“Nope”, another voice told me. “Now you’re doubting God. If He told you to visit, then go visit, don’t question it.”
So I ran into the store and got something for her and went to the hospital. I didn’t know what room she was in, but from past hospital visitation experiences, everyone usually winds up on the third floor. I got off the elevator, stepped up to the nurse’s station, with the plant and asked for her room number. And you’ll never believe it. But she had been released that morning. Hmmmm? Was God talking to me after all?
Okaaayyyyy. Now what do I do? Maybe I’ll run it by her house even though I have no idea where she lives. So I got back on the elevator, stepped onto the first floor to go to my car and something stopped me. I stood in the foyer outside the elevator and felt extremely led to give the plant in my arms to someone hospitalized who maybe hadn’t had a visitor. A lonely old person perhaps? Surely, there’s lonely people in the hospital. Hmmmmm? Now was this God speaking to me? Maybe I needed to minister to someone in need? Maybe I’m at this hospital for someone I’m unaware of.
So in an attempt to be obedient, once again I got back in the elevator, returned to the third floor, walked up to the nurse’s station and asked if there might be someone on that floor who could use a visitor and a plant. The nurses look at the wall of patient’s names and room numbers, consider their patients, and slowly shake their heads. Seems like everyone is doing just fine and dandy.
Alrighty then. So now what? I guess I’ll just keep the dern plant for myself.
I got back in the elevator to leave.
And I cried.
I stood in the elevator alone and cried.
Not because the person I went to see wasn’t in the hospital anymore.
Not because I spent money on a plant that no one needed.
Not even because the nurses couldn’t help me find ONE SINGLE PERSON to brighten their day.
But because, right then and there, alone in an elevator, it became blatantly apparent to me that I don’t recognize the voice of God, obviously.
And then the other VOICE came. The bad VOICE. The one who speaks defeat and negativity to my soul. It makes me doubt, causing confusion, fear and self-loathing. It twisted itself around my head and my heart and caused me to think, “How do I know if I have ever heard God’s voice? I didn’t today when I thought I had on three different occasions. Which only means, all those other times in my life, all those instructions, all those thoughts that I felt were God’s way of directing me, that was probably just indigestion or something.
I’m probably married to the wrong person, living in the wrong town, working at the wrong job, and going to the wrong church. How am I to know really?”
Which leads to the scripture I’ve chosen for my first memorization of 2011. It is John 10:27 which states,
“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.”
I know I am not a lost sheep.
I know I have a shepherd.
He laid down his life for me, just as the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He protects me from the wolves who wish to cause me harm.
He leads me so I do not go astray.
And I long to hear his voice.