I Long to Hear
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I remember, in grade school, being told that if I had paid attention the first time, the teacher would not have to explain the lesson twice.
Sometimes, when I am struggling, I wonder if God feels the same way as my grade school teacher. Was I not paying attention when instructions on how to live were given out? Is that why I am struggling now? Was he clear before?
I want to follow God’s call for me. But sometimes it feels like I just wasn’t paying attention when instructions were given out. Maybe He should have shouted through a megaphone to my ear. Or tattooed it on my body. Or even now, a tap on my shoulder, so I could feel Him guiding me, as I try to conceal from the world my unleashed mess of questions inside.
We know He has a unique call for each of us. It can be hidden and take years of discernment to totally clarify God’s plans for the gifts in you and how they can best meet the challenging needs of this world. You may receive great counsel and direction from very logical people, but the results can sometimes only be short-term satisfaction if the counsel is not linked to faith. If you have a great job but it isn’t what God has called you to, you’ll be unsatisfied on some level. And you know it! You are left longing for more.
Where is God calling you? In His plans, are you called to serve in one place or are you called to many? Is His plan for you to keep searching? How are you being called to use your gifts? These are questions that I ask of myself from time to time because I simply don’t know. But I am beginning to realize, it just doesn’t matter if I am cleaning a gutter or helping someone who lives in a gutter. At the end of a hard day, I long to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I think that is what we all long to hear.
In a continual love-affair with God, you strive to know Him by studying, praying and worshiping Him and sometimes just hanging out with Him. You would do anything to please Him, and more so, know that He is proud of you. It’s hard to find meaning in what you are doing if you can’t hear Him, feel Him, or find signs of His approval. And if you are like me, the more praise you get from the secular world, the more you question if you are on track. Well, His track.
Set your mind and heart on God. Rather than seeking earthly treasures, pursue that which has eternal value and store up treasures in heaven. ( Matthew 6:19-21). There are so many examples of wealthy celebrities having every advantage of this world, and they are still not happy - still searching - still longing and looking for more. This world places meaning in the wrong places and comes up empty.
Peter 1:3-8 reminds us that God equips us to be faithful servants and gives us instructions for how to live a life that is fruitful for Him:
"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Like my grade school teacher, I am sure God looks at me and sighs, smiles and repeats His lessons and directions to me all the time, through scripture, and a community to challenge me. As a good teacher, He knows me, the student, very well. He knows I do not have this life figured out yet. And in His merciful love, He gives all of us lesson after lesson and chance after chance to figure it all out. The least I can do is pay attention, abide in Christ and learn to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I have great faith that if I do all these things, the words I long to hear will be heard with an abundance of clarity.