5”But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Saturday, the second day since I started to listen to His voice (praise God). There was no big voice from heaven, nor hologram-like visions before me. Neither did I wake up with a feeling of being supernatural. In fact, I did not feel like it, but the day began with a prayer, anyway. There was the desire to talk to Him and listen, but there was also a feeling of going back to old ways, to just do whatever I liked to do.
Then, I read a book entitled, Think On These Things by John Maxwell, given by a friend as a Christmas gift. The book is really helpful especially now that my mind needs to be cleansed of the many undesirable ideas I collected in the course of my 25 years in life, and be replaced with things pleasing before Him (Philippians 4:8,9).
It was about noon when I decided to open my messenger after searching with my sister for potential restaurants where we can eat for mom’s birthday celebration. The first message I read among numerous items went, “Ano na naman issue sa CTMO?” (What’s the issue in CTMO this time?) CTMO is a business site we’re enhancing and maintaining. Then it felt like blood rushed to my head but the colors ran out of them at the same time. A critical issue in the system had been encountered and business data are being messed up, making reporting and other tasks impossible, not just in one site but globally!
Then I read some other messages and e-mails. Clients were, of course, frustrated and in panic. Some of my team mates, it seemed, already devised a plan of action to firefight the mishap. The first thought came to mind, “I should quit.” It was not the first time an issue occurred, and the other was just a few days ago. But to quit now at the middle of chaos will be worse. “I need to help fix this.”
I went to the office without knowing exactly the root cause of the issue yet, more so, how to resolve it. I was holding on to God’s word, “My plans are to prosper you, not to harm you”, in Jeremiah 29:11. If God allowed this to happen, I thought, may it be from the enemy or just a consequence of our negligence, my Father will be with me and will see us through this. True enough, I came to the office with my teammate already preparing the resolution for deployment.
Not just that day, but every day, I, just like everyone else, will be offered by the enemy with countless alternatives to God’s voice (idols). First and foremost, that stranger tries to destroy our quiet time with our Father. My mind wandered many times to other things when praying and talking to Him. I often feel reluctant to begin to pray and read God’s word. The enemy knows that without communication with the Lord, without letting my self be equipped with His holy armors, I am bare before his arrows (Ephesians 6:11-18). His cunning lies and temptations such as, “You cannot do that. You cannot change. You failed so many times. Just give up”, will be so much easier to be planted in my mind.
Today (15 January 2017), while writing this account, I flipped again the book on one of the pages I read yesterday. It went, “Today you may not be what you want to be, or dream of becoming, but the one key to achieving your dream is determining not to quit.” God has spoken to me that very moment, preparing my heart, before I became aware of the issue we had.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me,” the Father reminded me (John 10:27). God can speak to us when we read His word, when we pray, when we read books or listen to songs, when we meet and interact with people, and even in the most usual chores of our daily life.
It is my prayer that by God’s unfailing power, we will endure the times when the enemy distracts our attention from God. That we will continually meditate on our Father’s words and on things that are pleasing to Him throughout the course of our day (Phils. 4:8,9). And that we will let ourselves be surrendered to His care before we sleep, expectant to hear from Him even in dreams. Until the day comes when we are a lot sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and any other voice is just but a mere stranger.
Blessed be the Lord our God!