Monday, August 25, 2014

Silly Sounding Obedience

(My obedience plant.)
Don’t take for granted that because it’s good, it’s God.

God may have someone right around the corner He needs you to speak with or pray for right now, perhaps someone who’s contemplating suicide. So, when we stop to chat with the homeless man begging for quarters just to be nice, we may be “chasing rabbit trails” instead of heeding the voice of God.

This is where listening for His voice; His guidance, is crucial. Every time He speaks to us, His words are worth hearing and living out.

Sometimes God speaks to me about seemingly small things, but they can have monumental effects.

A dear friend of mine tells a story about a time when God spoke to her about wearing a specific dress. At first she was taken aback, asking God, “Don’t You trust me to pick out my own clothes for the day?” But, obedience prevailed, and she wore the dress, which was a bit out of place for her day. She walked out to check her mail and a woman came shrieking with excitement across the courtyard. “My mother made me a dress when I was a girl and it looked just like that one, where did you get it?” she asked. Now, the dress was of little importance in the grand scheme of things, but being invited to a conversation with this woman was where God had some seed planting to do. My friend was able to share some truths about our living Savior, Jesus Christ, with a woman she’d never have spoken to otherwise.

God knew as my friend got dressed that morning who He would bring across her path, and just how He would draw the two together – over a dress.

We may never know the opportunities we’ve missed to share the gospel message or to be a blessing to someone, simply because we ignored the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

What joy can we bring into the lives of others by acting in obedience, no matter how silly or petty we feel God’s instructions for the day to be. Obedience is so much easier, too, when we trust that the results of that obedience are His responsibility, not ours.

I think I’ve shared this story before, but perhaps someone who needs to hear it missed it the first time.

Decades ago, while living in Illinois I crossed paths with a beautiful young Asian woman who spoke little to no English. How could I have been of any earthly good to her? This delicate creature was berated daily by a brute of a husband in the parking lot of our apartment complex. I wouldn’t say those words to my worst enemy, let alone scream them at my spouse!

But, one day I knew God was instructing me to stop at her apartment and tell her that He loves her. I put it off until it was time to walk up to the school and collect my children for the day. As a matter of fact, I put it off so badly that, upon arriving at the corner near the school, I had to inform God that if I went back to talk to her, I’d be late for the kids. Almost as if He was shaking His head and laughing at me, He said that if I’d obeyed Him sooner I wouldn’t be in that dilemma. I turned around and went back.

I was anxious and knew she wouldn’t understand a word I said, but I knocked on her door. No one answered. With a sigh, I was relieved to believe that God merely wanted my act of obedience, but that He wasn’t going to require me to actually talk to the woman. After knocking a second time and getting no answer, I turned to walk away. One step into my retreat, and she opened her door with a fearful, questioning look on her face, half hiding behind her door.

“Jesus wanted me to tell you that He loves you,” I said. (Or something to that affect.) Immediately, she seemed to understand. She nodded her head repeatedly and thanked me over and over again with a smile of joy on her face and tears rolling down her cheeks.

I never saw her again. But who knows what was going on behind her closed door when I got there? Could she have been contemplating suicide? Could she have been mustering up the courage to leave her lousy husband? Could she have just been staring at the results of a pregnancy test? I’ll never know. But, I do know that God used my words - His words, to bless her greatly. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a look of joy since.

By the way, I was at the school before the bell rang.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thin own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

" obey is better than sacrifice..." - 1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV)

What were His instructions today? What was the outcome? If you’re not too shy, share it with us!

(The "fortune" from my last fortune cookie at Panda Express.)


  1. thanks Helen for this inspiring article. Indeed God speaks to us many times but we make his voice passive! I enjoyed reading through this article!


  2. Thanks for your input, Owen! Great point!