Hear & Obey

The life that pleases God is not a set of religious duties; it is to hear His voice and obey His word.

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

A friend from a church where we used to attend shared a 40 Days of Lent devotional with me via the YouVersion Bible app: 40 Daily Devotionals for Lent

Today’s devotional included this wonderful quote from Richard Foster that was such an encouraging, “Yes!” moment for me.

Yesterday, I had the day off of work, and Mia, my daughter, was out of school as well. So we spent the day together– playing with the puppies at our house — meeting Mandee, my wife, for Mia’ first ever lunch at Ike’s Korner Grill — visiting Milliken to feed the ducks, geese, and lone pigeon — going to Frankie’s Fun Park to play video games and drink Icees — and even grabbing a Caramel Coconut Cookie milkshake at Bruster’s. The rain kept us from enjoying what we thought would be Mia’s first time in the batting cages and from a trip to Carowinds that evening — but we changed directions and headed home to play Mario Party instead.

As my gas light came on, Mia said “There’s a Sphinx station right up here” and I immediately asked “How did you know that?” Because we were in a different town and in an area where I know that she has never been before. I knew that there was a Sphinx station ahead because 15 years ago I used to work in that area. But there was no way that she could have known that herself.

The situation offered the opportunity for me to tell her how I feel like the Holy Spirit whispers things to me that help me so many times in my life that might make people think that I’m wise, or insightful, or thoughtful, or talented — but I think that it is primarily that I’m willing to hear and obey. It is an odd thing to try and explain without sounding a bit crazy — so I just shared it with her and accepted that whether it helped her now or later in life, it is important for me to share with her regularly the differences between religious duties/traditions/dogma versus an active abiding in the Holy Spirit of God.

The same thing happened recently when we had our 1 year old Maltipoo puppy at the vet office after she was very sick, not eating, not drinking water, not urinating, and eventually throwing up blood. I had recently changed the thermostat in my wife’s vehicle. As careful as we had been to insure the dogs couldn’t get to any of the antifreeze, my immediate fear was that she had somehow gotten to some of it. As I lay hands on the little pup and prayed for healing — and then as I pray aloud and sobbing with my wife that God not let my foolishness be the reason for my little girl’s broken heart (if anything we’re to happen to her dog because of my actions) — I let peace wash over me. We took the pup to the vet and as we sat waiting for the blood test results, my wife said, “Maybe it’s pancreatitus?” And when the vet returned later and said Pancreatitus (not antifreeze poisoning) — I asked my wife how she knew that and she didn’t know.

Side Note: Even though the vet was wanting to hospitalize Olive for pancreatitus, we took her home and nursed her back to health, and she is now 100% recovered. Thank you Jesus!

I’m not going to make out like we’re perfect and holy and “more in tune with God” and that’s why we’re blessed. But I’m also not going to ignore the fact that even though we are imperfect — that there truly is something about the Blood of the Lamb washing us clean and allowing us the opportunity to hear and obey that brings us blessing that is beyond what I believe we would accomplish in our own.

“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” 

Psalm 119:15

Lord, thank you for calling us by name. Thank you for speaking wisdom and truth to us. Please heal our hearts, open our ears to hear you, and open our eyes to see clearly that obedience truly is for our best. Help us to hear and obey. Thank you for the opportunity to sing your praise and give you the glory for every good gift. Amen.