“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
One of the best ways to move forward as we learn to hear God speak is to embrace failure. Fear of making a mistake can paralyze us. The point of learning to hear God speak is so that we can then move and act on what He is saying to us. If we bite our nails and drive ourselves crazy with a list of “what if’s” we will think that we cannot hear God speak; not because we can’t, but because we lack confidence and end up stuck in a no-mans land of indecision and apprehension.
Pastor Chris Hopkins gave a very practical word of advice during a sermon on answering God’s call. He was addressing the thoughts we struggle with when trying to determine if God is speaking to us and directing us to do something. He said, “Ask yourself, ‘Would the devil want me to do this? If the answer is, no, then what have you got to lose?” If what we feel God is saying to us will not lead us to do anything that is sinful or contrary to Scripture, then even if it is not God’s voice but just our own thoughts we can move forward unafraid.
When I was pregnant with our sixth child I felt certain that God had spoken to my heart during a time of prayer and revealed to me that the baby would be a boy and would serve Him all the days of his life. I picked out a name for this son of mine and began to pray a prayer of dedication over this special boy. When the day came for his arrival I sensed the Lord’s presence so strongly throughout my labor. As our precious sixth child made their way into the world I heard my daughters and husband cry out, “It’s a girl!” Oops! Obviously, I heard wrong. I felt like an idiot, but Adelina has been the sweetest and most delightful little girl, and I still pray that same special prayer over her that I began praying when she was in the womb.
Another time I was praying for our son about a scholarship that he had applied for. When the letter arrived in the mail it stated that he had not been awarded the scholarship. Later the next day as I was reading I sensed God whispering to my spirit, “It’s not over yet. I can do the impossible. Believe me. He will receive that scholarship.” The funny thing is that my son came to me and said, “You know, Mom, I’m really fine with not getting the scholarship, but for some strange reason I feel like God wants me to trust that I am going to get it.” That seemed like confirmation to me. How would we both, on our own, be hearing the same thing if it wasn’t God speaking to us? And wouldn’t you know that people kept asking about it. We spoke boldly of how we were trusting God even though it seemed like an impossibility. He never got the scholarship. Talk about humble pie!! I love to eat pie, but that wasn’t the kind I was interested in! It was downright humiliating. But even though he didn’t get that specific scholarship, he was awarded others that ended up equating to a full ride at the University of he wanted to attend.
Knowing I will make mistakes when trying to hear God speak to me has been the hardest thing for me to push through. I hate feeling like a fool and fear making disastrous decisions because of my own inabilities. What God has patiently been teaching me over the years is that He will not let me falter in anything that will destroy or derail His Kingdom purposes. He will allow me to make mistakes that will humble me, teach me, and cause me to rely more fully on Him. When I do make a mistake, the Holy Spirit faithfully redirects me and guides me in the way I should go. 1 Peter 2:6 says, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” We will make mistakes. We will not be put to shame.
If we are unwilling to risk being wrong we will miss out on the thrill of being a part of the Kingdom work that God wants us to be a part of. Worse yet, we will miss out on God’s mercies that are new every morning, the cadence of love He desires to sing over us so that we can live life to the fullest, satiated by His grace.
God, grant us grace to move forward even though we know we’ll make mistakes. We place no confidence in ourselves, but in You, we trust implicitly!