Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Indispensable Voice of God

I am not moving until you say "Go!"

Directions from Daddy

Lucy’s father had an accident the day before a scheduled tour on the facility he was managing. It came as shocking news to her when he said she should head the tour in place of him.
“Daddy, I cannot do it,” she said.
They were in the hospital. He had a bandaged leg hung from a stand by the bed. His face was also bandaged like a mummy. Her mother sat on a seat by his bedside. Lucy stood up from the bed where she was sitting and walked to a shelf in the ward. There she toyed with the fresh flowers whose mild scent overshadowed the smell of disinfectant common to hospital wards.
As the silence in the room lengthened, Lucy pondered on her father’s request. She was scared. She did not think she had adequate experience. She newly joined his organization. She had been a trainee for only 6 months and had never worked without supervision. It appeared like a huge task to take on the role of a facility supervisor when she had not understood the nitty-gritty’s of the operations and facilities.
“Lucy, your father will not ask you to do what he knows you cannot do. Your supervisors have given him good report about you.”
“Mummy, I have never witnessed a site inspection. If I was asked to head the Distributed Control System, it would have been easier for me because I have watched my supervisor do it. I am the youngest in the team. I have a lot of matured experienced people to be dealing with. They will feel Daddy chose me because I am his daughter. Can Daddy choose someone else while I watch this time? Next time I will do it on my own.”
“Lucy, you are the best person to represent me that is why I have chosen you,” her father spoke in his deep but loving tone that had a way of making her melt. “You have all it takes, except the experience. I will guide you. When you start, just call my number and I will direct you on what to do. Be bold and courageous. No one will know you do not have the experience. And you have lots of experienced people to fall back on. Even experts like me don’t know it all and we have to ask people specialized in an area.”
She smiled.
“Daddy, my credit will finish,” she said amusingly.
“We’ll load it before you go. But just a flash is enough. I will call you back.”
She paused for a moment.
“Is there anything I need to do before tomorrow?”
“Go get the documents on the procedures for all our facilities. Read them. I will talk to the other members of the team to support you. Just go out there and be yourself.”
“Yes I will.”
“That’s my girl.”

The next day, the government representatives arrived on time for the tour. Lucy and the team greeted them and welcomed them in. After the introductions and getting everyone in their right personal protective equipment, Lucy dialed her father’s number. She had an earpiece and a mouthpiece connected to the phone. It looked cool. Nobody knew it was to be in touch with her father.
“Let’s start with the ethylene tank farm closest to us,” she started.
While the people followed her directions, she listened to her father who was saying, “The use of cryogenic tanks have helped us safely store and handle ethylene in our tank farms…”
This she repeated after him.
And that was how the tour was going. She said everything her father asked her to say. When she was asked a question, she repeated it (for her father to hear) and would start by saying something like “Basically” or “Actually” to give some time to get feedback from her father. Sometimes, members of the team added explanations to buttress what she replied.

“In the event of a failure in the Distributed Control System, what measures have you put in place to ensure this place is functional?” one of the government representatives asked.
“Your call credit has been exhausted and your call terminated. Please load an all-in-one card,” was the response she got from her father’s end of the line.
She became scared. She could not think. For a moment, everywhere seemed dark and silent. She was confused.
She repeated the question is a stammer. This was no time to flash her father. There was no credit in the phone to flash.
“Yes,” the questioner asked. “All these are beautiful and functioning well with the help of the DCS. If the DCS malfunctions or there is a failure, how could you control this place?”
She had no clue. With her last element of reasoning, she asked herself, “What will Daddy do at this point? What will he say?”
She looked up and saw the face of the DCS supervisor. This was his area of area of expertise. She remembered the words of her father, “And you have lots of experienced people to fall back on. Even experts like me don’t know it all and we have to ask people specialized in an area.” Maybe Daddy would not have known the answer to this question. But he knows that Mr. Kola is specialized in this area. She smiled. She knew what to do.
“We have various procedures in place to account for failures and malfunctions of the DCS. Mr. Kola here, who is the expert in this area, will tell you all about them.”
And all the attention went to Mr. Kola. As he passionately talked about the procedures in place, Lucy used the opportunity to wipe away the fresh sweat that had broken out because of fear.
At the end of the day, the company received an excellent appraisal from the government representatives.

Each and everyone of us has been created on purpose, predestined before the foundation of the world [Ephesians 1:4]. You are not different. God has equipped you with all you need to achieve your purpose. This equipping could be gifts, talents, personalities, position or experiences. To achieve this purpose, you need to hear His voice. He is the one that can give you the right direction.

Everyday in your life, you are faced with decisions. It could be as little as whether or not to open the door for a person, whether or not to change locations or as big as whether or not to get married to a person. For some decisions, it is easy to reason it out and come up with a solution. For some it could be so confusing. Relying on your reasoning is not sufficient. The only way you can have absolute certainty is when you know you are making the right decision. That comes from hearing from God.

How can you know the voice of God? How can you differentiate the sounds you are hearing within and around you?
1. The Holy Spirit has the same voice with God. Are you born again? Is your spirit alive? God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit residing in everyone who is born again.
2. You need to know God. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Someone can call you and you could misplace the voice. But someone you know so well, it is hard to misplace the person’s voice. It is very difficult to misplace His voice if you have been hearing it everyday. There may be times when you feel so confused that your emotions rule and you cannot hear from God. One question you could ask yourself is, “What will God say about this? What will He do about this?” Knowing Him will help you answer those questions.
3. You need to know the Word of God. When you hear God’s voice, what He is saying can never violate His Word or His principles. For instance, His Word says, “Thou shall not steal”. There is no way when speaking to you that He will say you should steal. Any voice that says anything contrary to His word is not His voice. He is consistent. One lady was hurrying to minister to some sick people
[1]. She said, “Right in front of the hospital was a crosswalk with a traffic light. As I stood at the corner I kept praying, starting to cross, even though the light was red. I mean, I was in a hurry trying to get to all those sick people! Right in the middle of the street I heard, ‘So you want to represent Me, and you can't even make it across the street without breaking the law?’”
4.Still your thoughts and emotions. When you need directions, when you need to make decision, if you want to hear from God, you need to still your thoughts and emotions. A moment of quiet time can help you hear clearly the voice of God.
5. Don’t forget the way He has spoken to you before. Hearing the voice of God is a learned skill but there may be sometimes you have had this conviction that was from God and no other. How did He speak to you before? Through His Word, through a person, through a circumstance, through the answer of peace within, or through the voice we have known before?

Hearing from God is not a luxury. It is a necessity. It is more important than the food you eat. [Matthew 4:4].

What lessons can we learn from the story of Lucy and her father? Did you see the following points?
1. Lucy’s father had confidence in her because he knew she had all it took to accomplish what he wanted of her. God has confidence in you because He knows that He has given you all you need to accomplish what He wants of you [2 Peter 1:3].
2. Lucy was focused on her shortcomings. Everyone has weaknesses and shortcomings. God has no problem with that. His strength is made perfect in weakness [2 Corinthians 12:9]. See what how Moses who stammered led the Israelites out of Egypt [Exodus 4:10]? Or how overlooked David became King of Israel [1 Samuel 16:7]?
3. Lucy’s father pointed out that she had people to fall back on. You don’t have to work alone [Romans 12:10]. There is a lot you can learn from people around you. Nobody that God puts on your path is insignificant. And you don’t know who will give you the support you are looking for.
4. Lucy trusted and depended on her father completely. Her focus was not on what she had, but on the help from her father. Similarly you do not need to focus on your money, connections, skills, etc. It will only make you proud. Acknowledge that He is your provider, He is your Father, and He is your everything, and trust and depend on Him completely [Proverbs 3:5-6].
5. Lucy prepared in the best way she could. She read the existing procedures in place. The word of God is sufficient preparatory material for you [2 Timothy 2:15]. It is lamp to your feet and light to your path [Psalms 119:105].
6. Lucy obeyed and submitted to her father’s will. There are many people who hear from God but chose to ignore it. God’s plans for you are only good and not evil. Obeying and submitting to His will is simply a step in the right direction [1 Samuel 15:22], [James 4:7].
7. In an apparently overwhelming situation, Lucy still relied on what her father will do. For example traumatic experiences or emotional experiences can make you lose touch with the Word of God and affect your relationship with God. This makes your spirit deaf to the voice of God. Knowing what He would require of you, which could be as simple as ‘pray’, is important and comes from experiencing Him [Jeremiah 6:16].
8. Lucy was able to make her father proud. Whatever you do, do it to bring glory to God not yourself [1 Corinthians 10:31]. It is fulfilling. It is indeed wonderful to know that God is smiling as He watches you and He is saying, “That’s my child!” Make your heavenly Father proud.


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