When a problem pops up, God is trying to get your attention. He wants to listen and to encounter Him today. Why? Because he cares.
The other day my counselee (whom I’ll call Cheri) fell flat on her back — literally, flat on back — and suffered a compression fracture. Hurrying to answer the phone, Cheri unwittingly slammed her toe into a Little People garage toy as she grabbed her cell, lost her balance, and — wham! — she fell straight back like a log.
I was the caller. . .
. . .and thought it odd that she didn’t say “Hello.”
“Cheri, are you there?”
Still no sound.
She caught her breath. Finally. The fall had knocked the wind out of her.
What would have been our usual give-and-take on God’s answers to her problem of life-long anxiety turned into my helping her figure out the extent of her back injury and get immediate first aid. (While I prefer to counsel women via Skype or in person, I also have meetings by phone when there are no other reasonable options. If you’re curious, look at my counseling info page.)
After determining she could move safely, she fetched a bag of frozen vegetables as an quickie ice pack and downed a pain reliever. When she began to worry, I helped keep her calm and think straight using simple and clear instructions. A few days later, when she messaged me through Facebook, she reported her back pain continued and kept her from sleeping, I suggested strongly that she see a doctor pronto. She made an appointment for that afternoon. X-rays revealed a spinal compression fracture. Her doctor referred her to specialist, prescribed pain pills, and told her to rest and to NOT twist, bend, or lift.
While she waits to see the specialist, she suffers back pain as well as. . .
the pain of losing her health. . .
along with the inability to complete simple things like wash dishes, sweep floors, even shower. . .
as well as a desire to isolate and to pray.
Why God Wants Your Attention
As God providentially orchestrates your life, he wants your attention to make you listen to his voice, to seek him first, before possessions, prestige, even comfort.
He wants you to listen to his voice so you may enjoy his fellowship, receive guidance, and know him better. Yes, God can and will use a supernatural event to get your attention. He used a burning bush to get a hold of Moses and deliver the Hebrews out of Egypt. He used a talking donkey shake up Balaam. He supernaturally heals people from addictions, cancer, and other monstrous problems.
More often he uses ordinary things to still you and speak to you.
Ordinary things like life’s ordinary problems.
When author and speaker Virelle Kidder asks hers audience to name their “donkey” (i.e., problems) the women yell out every thing from the outrageous to the mundane to the wild and crazy:
“My donkey’s name is Ron and I’m married to him.”
Even sadder, “I hate who I am.”
What’s Your Problem?
What difficulty is God using to get your attention?
God may send you a trial or permit one. Remember, he is sovereign and thus is in control of your life always. This biblical truth may anger or comfort you. Either way God uses life’s problems because he cares. If you face something hard now, he may seem uncaring, even cruel. But the Bible says:
“God is love.” 1 John 4:16
And God never lies. Lying is Satan’s specialty for he is the father of lies.
How Will You Respond?
Since this post focuses on listening, let me give you three listen-to-God ideas.
1. Use a journal — an ordinary composition book works! — and write down what God is impressing on your heart as you read your Bible. This written record will help get you through the hard.
2. Spend time in nature. Talk a walk or sit on your deck or hike in the mountains, and prayerfully ask God to show you his handiwork and his care for you. Look at the wildflowers. Observe the birds. If God cares for these, does he not care for you, who are made in his image?
3. In your journal, jot those problems that seem impossible to solve and tell God about them, asking him to give you what you need. As he answers, note his answer next to the your “impossible problem prayer” and date it.
May I pray for you?
You care for my sister and you know the problems she faces, for you are all-knowing. Please help her hear your voice and enjoy you. Comfort her. Thank you for how you’ll meet her in her difficulty and getting her attention. Help her to listen deep and obey you. You are good. We praise you. In Jesus’ name.
P.S. Watch for my nest post in my 8-week series on Super Self Care at my website. It publishes on Wednesdays. Next topic: Is Dieting a Sin?
With Joy Overflowing!