My journal entry three days ago included a discussion with God on scripture from Mark 4:11-12
He told them, "The secret of the
I’ve often wondered about this passage. Lord, don’t we want everyone to turn and be forgiven? Why speak in parables so that some may never perceive and never understand?
A couple weeks ago, I recommitted my voice as a speaker to “sing always, only for my king.” I have a strong sense of incompetence in the speaking arena. My greatest fear whether speaking to one person or a thousand (in my dreams), is that I will be misunderstood. The lesson from God on Wednesday was for me not to worry about how his word is received. He will handle soil preparation. I need to be like the sower who realizes that not all seed will fall on fertile ground.
But that didn’t really answer my years of struggle with the passage in Mark 4.
Yesterday, I pulled out “leadership encouragements” material from Moms in Touch and chose to follow the “Personal Quiet Time” on “Listening to God Speak to Me.” It is the basic read a passage of scripture until you sense something jumping out at you. There is an ancient term for this but I can’t think of it right now. If you know it, please leave it in the comments.
The passage was 1 Kings 18:16 through 1 Kings 19:18. I got as far as the second verse, 1 Kings 18:17 “When he [Ahab] saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that you, you troubler of
I’m familiar with this story from 1 Kings because I co-led a retreat based on Elijah’s exciting confrontation followed by his immediate exhaustion and fear of people. So I didn’t need to read all of it to hear God remind me once again don’t worry about how others respond to what I give you to say.” I’ve already been seen as a “troubler” and asked not to participate in one women’s Bible study. I’ve also been called a fanatic. My closing words to God in my journal entry yesterday were “My desire is to Always, Only do what I see you doing, Lord.”
As I glanced at those words this morning, I heard God say that’s why some are always seeing but never perceiving, always hearing but never understanding. It was one of those “huh?” moments. Then it started making sense.
Those who have “ears to hear,” as Jesus says in Mark 4, do understand. But he’s not talking about physical ears. Of course, most of you realized that a long time ago. But wait.
Some years ago there was a popular study called “Experiencing God.” I’ve heard a lot about this study but never read it. What I’ve heard most often is “go where you see God already working.” That’s a fine thought but the problem is many times we are seeing but not perceiving. Do you get it? If you were in my little office right now, I’d be bouncing around as I tell you what’s on my mind.
I’ve rejected the concept of “go where God is already working” because I believe God is working everywhere. And that is the difference in seeing but never perceiving, hearing but never understanding. I want to see what God sees with his eyes, not just what I can see with my physical eyes. I want to do what I see him doing even if no one else around me sees it. If I were to read Blackaby’s material, I would probably have learned this lesson a long time ago.
So why do some people see and others don’t? Well, that’s still somewhat of a mystery but I think it has to do with humbling yourself to God as everything and man (all man including yourself) as nothing without him. With him, does not make me greater than others. But with him, I have life – ears to hear, eyes to see, reason to live a physical life because of the spiritual life.
I will keep sowing the seeds trusting that God is preparing the soil ahead of me. I may get discouraged if I look at what’s growing along the path. So I’ll keep my eyes on things above and consider carefully what I hear.
Are there things you don’t understand about God? Keep listening. Sometimes God leads us through a game of connect the dots so that we can perceive and understand.
“‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more.’” Mark 4:24