Friday, November 2, 2012

Confirmation of the Spirit’s Leading

We’ve all heard the term, “when the ‘planets/stars are in alignment’, the time will be right,” and, whilst it’s a secular view, there is a time for everything; when everything seems right:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...”
— Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)
One such time in my life, when God seemed to be saying, “Now is the right time to do this thing,” there was a definite discernible feel that God had prepared the way. Suddenly there were no barriers, where previously there were plenty of barriers. People who could have gotten in the way, gracefully allowed the passage of God’s will to unfold. This was the season of courting my wife. We both sensed God’s leading—the confirmation of the Spirit’s sponsorship in preparing the way.
It is a wonderful reality being in the lap of God’s will. The mindful Christian will never want to be anywhere else.
Knowing and Accepting the Timing of Things
We are probably more adept at getting the timing wrong in our lives than being swept off our feet at the answer of our prayers. Prayer is seen to be answered in our favour less than we would like. This is obviously because our flesh is in the way.
But when we are consciously seeking to be in the lap of God’s will most of the things we want will become secondary. This has to be done by intention; to surrender those things that get in the way of discerning the Spirit’s actual leading. Sometimes we hear many ‘voices’; it’s good to be clear regarding the Spirit’s leading. The Spirit’s leading is confirmed not in just one or two ways, but in many ways; too many ways to ignore.
Knowing and accepting the timing of things is part of the mystery of maturity.
When we come to a place of knowing and accepting the timing of things we experience more joy, because most, if not all, our prayers are being answered. Indeed, our hopes, dreams, and plans tend more to conform to the pattern of God’s needs for our lives.
So, two things merge. First, there is the fitting of our expectations to our circumstances and, second, later on, there is the fitting of our circumstances to our expectations. When we can adjust to our circumstances, and live happily that way, we are ready for the new thing. But that doesn’t mean God will necessarily bless us there and then.
It is truly wonderful, and this is where God is real to us, when there is a persuasive confirmation—an incredible number of ‘coincidences’, alignments, and complementary strategies—of the Spirit’s undertaking as he works in and through us for his Kingdom.
One thing we ought to pray for, continually, is confirmation of the Spirit’s leading. This requires discernment. It’s the quality of seeking the knowledge of God’s will for our lives, right now. There is no better reality than being in the lap of God’s will.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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