One of the trickiest parts of knowing and doing God’s will is when it comes to the details that are not spelled out in Scripture. We know it is God’s will that we forgive others as we have been forgiven. We know it is God’s will that we tell others that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. We know it is God’s will to be humble, patient, loving, kind. But there are times when we think we hear God tell us to do something specific or maybe even weird. How do we know for sure that we are hearing from God in that case?
This issue came up for me recently in a mini-crisis I experienced. On a very hot August afternoon, my car broke down and died on the side of the road. I was in a panic, praying to get off the major freeway without being killed. I can see now how perfectly God answered that prayer. The place my car completely stalled was actually a good place that would not cause an accident (although it was inconvenient for drivers) and a good place for the tow truck driver to eventually pick up my car without being injured. I called my husband first to quickly tell him my location and let him know my battery was low on my phone; I told him I was going to call AAA. I mention them by name because I have never had a bad experience with this company and I highly recommend them without hesitation. In my state of anxiety (having just escaped a major highway with a crazy situation), as I opened my wallet a card for another service provider fell out into my lap. I started to look for my AAA card, but when this card fell out my next thought was maybe God wants me to use this company instead.
That was a major mistake that caused what should have been a one-hour wait to become a three-hour ordeal after cancelling with that company and calling AAA. But in the midst of it, there are many spiritual lessons for me. God does have a communication center in our hearts where He guides and leads us. I think I’m pretty good at tuning into the nudging of the Holy Spirit. God does want me to use my head as well. I could have put more thought into it and about 10 minutes into the call to the other company (it took twenty minutes for them to find my location on a major highway) I would have stopped the service. However, I didn’t know how much battery I had left on my phone and didn’t know if I had time to successfully call AAA. The point I want to learn for myself and others is that we need to use discernment when we think God might be telling us something since we also have an enemy of our souls who wants to drive us off-track.
Paul prays for Christians in Philippians 1:9-11 and asks God to help us:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
I did not discern correctly when the card fell in my lap. After waiting way too long, my husband was the one who made the final call to cancel that service and start all over with AAA. I’m so grateful that he came to my rescue to overcome my not discerning very well on what company to call. In the midst of it all (my poor discernment) God kept taking care of me. He allowed me to arrive just under three minutes until closing to get a rental car and have my car delivered safely. I felt God’s answers to my panicked prayers in a myriad of ways. He never left me or forsook me. He does expect me to use my mind, and when I call the wrong company I might have to deal with consequences.
That experience was a good reminder for me that God is constantly involved in my daily life. It reminds me that He gave me a mind to use in making sound decisions and that I need to be discerning in following signs that might just be from my own imagination or from the enemy of my soul who only seeks to kill, steal and destroy. It was a good lesson in love and humility, two of the greatest virtues.