Greater Joy

I prayed about what I thought to be a prompting to help a sister who had just been in the hospital. Preparing in my mind to do works of kindness, I heard the voice of the Spirit say, “I’m not sending you.” My first thought was: ‘Surely this cannot be the Lord speaking.’ After all, scripture reads that we should “…respond when we see a brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it.” [I John 3:17 Message]

The soul can quickly argue with the Lord when His will crosses ours ~ or when we use a single scripture to explain our plan. My argument was my own concept of what love is. Surely, I thought, love would be to [1] take a meal; or [2] clean her house; or [3] babysit her children … something that would lift her load. After all, isn’t this what we have always and should have done?

A deeper lesson was to be learned. I heard His reply: “I’ll tell you what love is: Love is being led by My Spirit. I know what I am doing.” 

Arrested by His words, I pondered this truth. While still wrestling with what I had known to be my own concept of love ~ to be honest…stripping my soul’s gears ~ my mind was confused. Then my phone began to ring; others were hearing the same thing: “I’m not sending you.” They too were struggling with their personal concepts of love.

The friend who’d been hospitalized was also wondering where everyone was ~ no doubt having great needs. God was doing a far deeper work ~ sending her husband home to help her and the children rather than indulging in his extra-curricular activities. While he had presumed on others to take his responsibilities, he was on the playing field.

Had we insisted upon our own concepts of love, we would have hindered the greater work of the Lord. A wise brother once said, “If God has someone on the back burner, heated and stewing, don’t take the pot off the stove. The work is not done yet. You might be hindering His work.”

I’m all for helping someone in need; mistakenly too quick to do so. How much quicker though do I need to listen to the voice of the Spirit. I know what it’s like to be the one in need of the assistance of others and wondering where they are. I know what it’s like to receive great pleasure in helping another, especially when it’s God’s perfect timing. But the greater joy is knowing that I’ve heard from the Spirit of God and have gotten out of His way. Only He can lead us in such a way as to bear the best and lasting fruit.

“The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him.” [Romans 12:3 Message]


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