That little hunch or fleeting notion might have been palpable, like a crystal-clear dream, vision, thought, or even small voice. Ever get those spiritual inclinations that seem so vivid yet ridiculously risky, hard, or seemingly impossible? But they seem so right. “Was that you, God?” ♦
Ever had that moment when you felt a holy nudge? A literal sense that God was giving you a message, a leading, a clear sign-post directing your path? It might have been a passing thought, or a recurring word or an image in your mind’s eye?
Caution. You’ve entered very risky territory.
How you handle this holy nudge, if it even was that, will determine not your life’s success, but your adherence to the will of God. And therein lies the risk and even danger: missing what you’re supposed to do for a purpose beyond you own understanding, by ignoring what you can’t comprehend or casting an interpretation toward your own desires or benefit.
Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Blessings missed, opportunities lost, impact thwarted, motions never started. Yet God will move on, to one who will respond, even blindly, with or without fear, to accomplish what He will accomplish in His timing.
How do we get on the right side of that?
It’s abiding obedience, beyond ourselves. Sometimes it’s when we’ve finally given up.
Even the Great Ones Fail
You may think of Bible characters like Abraham and Moses as human superheroes who did great things because they were special, or especially touched by God. They were merely men, quite imperfect and flawed. Yet they responded to the holy nudge, even with confusion and misunderstanding, but with belief.
And that was enough.
They each understood that they were treading on holy ground and did believe what they were being told. One (Abraham) was to have a son in his old age, 75 years old, and ultimately be the father of a great nation (Genesis 12). The other (Moses) would be called out to lead that very same eventual nation, roughly 500 years later, out of Egyptian slavery to a land prepared for them (Exodus 1-3).
Abraham had his predicted child, Isaac, at age 100. While we may be impatient that our dream-vision does not come to exact fruition over the next 30 days, Abraham had to wait 25 years. Even then, after 11 years, he and his wife Sarah thought that maybe he had misunderstood God and so orchestrated a child through her maid, Hagar. That son, Ishmael, would ultimately be the father of the Arab nations, enemies to Israel, and the eventual origin of the Islamic religion.
Moses, a Hebrew, was protected and raised in Egyptian privilege, a blessed life intended for destiny. His righteous anger cost him 40 years of flight to the desert after murdering a Egyptian. God redirected him again to go back to the scene of the crime and become the leader of the mass exodus of Israel out of Egypt to the ultimate Holy Land in the Middle East.
So What About Us?
So how does this apply to that recent inkling/nudge/premonition you’ve had about that job interview, college choice, activity focus? Or that recurring thought to call that friend, or person you just met? Or to start that business venture or stay put?
It’s all related.
God pays attention to details. God works through the details in life, if we let Him. Here are 3 steps to respond obediently:
- Discern the Source – Take these notions seriously. Is this really God, or just my own random thoughts, dreams, or worse, the wily schemes of our spiritual enemy who would distract and distort what God has prepared? And how do you do that? By taking that nudge or vision right back to God and asking Him “Is this from you, God?” It’s fair to petition: “I don’t understand, Lord. Please make it clear, God, and validate what I’m sensing.”
- Pray the Options – Honestly consider all options in prayer. Be open to all possibilities, even the scary ones. Put all your chips on the table. The thoughts came to you mentally, now organize your thoughts and pull your options together with clarity and present them to God in prayer. Daily, weekly, or longer. It’s His project, not yours. Be aware that His timing might be 2 weeks or 25 years or more. Let God be your guiding counsel. If you must, seek human counsel that is wise and discerning (see BV post Making Choices: Door 1, 2 or 3).
- Surrender to God – Give the burden to Him. Loosen your grip on your #1 choice, even give it up completely and finally. It’s certainly acceptable to let God know the desires of your heart, but then be merely the foot soldier responding to the ultimate orders of the Commanding General. Work your options diligently, without bias. When an issue has been prayed for and then released into God’s hand, rest assured that the situation is under higher management and will be worked to His good purposes. Isn’t that what you really want? Repeat Step 1 and be a part of that.
So Now What?
God, the Good Commanding General, is seeing and doing things you don’t fully see or understand. Rest in that. Acknowledging that truth is the first step to real wisdom, peace, and freedom in life.
Use your current or next Holy Spirit “inspiration episode” as a real test case in how to operate the rest of your life. The good news is that God is a God of second chances. Abraham and Moses were both able to complete their destiny, they just had to endure some tough consequences as a result of their own actions. But God still loved them and had plans to accomplish what He ultimately did accomplish through them.
And God loves each of us and has a “calling” for even us, if only we listen and obey.
Are you listening and obeying?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:8, 11