Splinters, sore throats, and hearing from God
Sometimes the answer to our problem is obvious, but we haven’t paid attention.
Sometimes we’re so busy worrying, we fail to ask God what to do.
I’m preaching to myself here.
Over the last month, my cat has died; my dryer has stopped working; there’s been COVID vaccine drama in our government and on social media; I’ve come down with a raw, sore throat (it’s not COVID!); MCL’s regular printer couldn’t print this edition at our regular size, so I had to find another printer; our December photoshoot, which will include five people on the cover, had to be scheduled with less than a week’s notice; I’ve got a women’s retreat to promote and execute (more on that in a minute); and a splinter* has worked its way into the ball of my foot.
*An alleged splinter, which I felt but never saw, and which has since left the scene — no thanks to a hilarious home remedy involving taping a piece of ripe banana peel to the affected area.
None of these challenges is life-threatening, to my knowledge, except in the literal sense of my cat. I’m about to get a free dryer from my brother, who’s upgrading; I can’t do anything to stop the vaccine fights, so I might as well stop worrying about them; I found another printer for this edition and wrangled five people plus a photographer for the December cover; my throat is slowly improving; and the women’s retreat is truly exciting.
So I’m not exactly Job here. In fact, the more times I tell someone, “It seems like it’s been one thing after another,” the more times I hear, “Sometimes life is like that…”
In other words, “Welcome to the club, Katie. I’m sorry you got a splinter and had to do your job.”
But still, it’s easy to get sucked into worry and frustration, even when my problems don’t amount to a molehill, much less a mountain. I pray about challenges, absolutely, but I always take a while before surrendering them to God and stopping long enough to listen for His answer.
This morning, I managed to get up before my alarm (thank you, sore throat!), mostly ignore social media, and read a bit of scripture. I’ve been slowly making my way through Isaiah, my favorite book of the Bible. (And let me just say, if you want to hear from God, read what He has to say to ancient Israel. It’s eerily applicable.)
At the end of Isaiah 52, it says that “kings” will “shut their mouths” when they see the returning Messiah; that they will see and consider what they had not known before.
Boy, sometimes I need to shut my mouth and look at Jesus.
Every time I prioritize the Lord, I remember why I need to. I remember why group chats and social media and (fill in the blank) are fine, but He is supreme. When I stop talking and seek to hear Him, I wind up seeing and considering something I hadn’t thought about before. Suddenly, life’s challenges are surmountable. My “issues” are nothing compared with the glory of Almighty God, who goes before me and behind me.
This is why the theme of MCL’s 2021 Fear to Faith Women’s Retreat is “Hearing from God.” We can’t proclaim God’s goodness, share His love, or even get through our workday if we don’t first hear from Him. We are far too quick to speak in His name before listening to what He has to say.
The women’s retreat is happening Saturday, October 30, at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ginny Owens, an award-winning singer-songwriter from Jackson, is our keynote speaker and worship leader. The retreat will also feature other speakers and panelists, and we’ll be serving lunch. I am really, really excited to get some women together to hear from the Lord and to talk about what that means.
You can find tickets and more information at bit.ly/mclretreat21, or visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MSChristianLiving and view the post pinned to the top of the page. If you have a group of 10 or more who want tickets, email me for a discount code!
In the meantime, I hope the words in this edition of MCL point you to the One who goes before and behind you, whose name is Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God. Seek to hear from Him, and He will guide you at every turn.