One Thing We Must Always Do
“This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you’” (Ezekiel 1:28-2:1).
NO MATTER WHAT UNCERTAINTY MAY ASSAIL US, WE MUST NOT FAIL TO LISTEN TO GOD IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE. We do not know what tomorrow will bring or how God’s purposes will unfold. What may come to pass even five minutes from now is largely beyond our foresight. Yet when we are bewildered and when fear threatens to obstruct our obedience, we can listen to what God has said. Even if we see no connection between what we think we need to hear and what God has actually said, we can choose to maintain reverence. We can listen to God.
Fear can be looked at from many different perspectives, but one thing we should never forget is that fear is basically a feeling, a mood. Like all other feelings, fear grows out of our thinking; it is an emotional response to the way we are “looking” at a given subject. Sometimes fear is a reasonable, understandable response, and sometimes it is not. But in either case, fear is a feeling that should not be allowed to overthrow our faith. Our faith should be based on CAREFUL thinking (in perhaps less emotional moments) about what is most likely true, and this foundation should be solid enough to withstand the emotional waves that are sure to beat against it from time to time. “Faith,” C. S. Lewis said, “is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” We can make choices concerning our faith that will make it more durable and stable.
There will be many days when unanswered questions seem to hinder us. God’s silence can be unsettling, it is true. And yet, God has spoken on every issue which HE deems needful for us, and this should make a difference in the management of our emotions. “In the midst of your doubts, don’t forget how many of the important questions God DOES answer” (Verne Becker). Our response both to fear and to our ignorance in certain areas should be simple REVERENCE — reverence that is determined and decisive. Whatever may happen or not happen, whatever we may know or not know, we must always say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.”
“Even in the grip of a terror rooted in our ignorance of God’s design for our lives, we can resolve to hear the message every time we have to hear it” (Paul Ciholas).