I asked five friends for help. We met and prayed together monthly for a year. In the end we all agreed I should leave; and we had no idea where I should go.
So I left the company and prayed more earnestly for direction. In fact I pleaded.
I heard nothing. Silence.
Have you ever felt this same desperate desire for God’s direction, longing for a word?
Let me tell you what God did for me.
Direction God speaks
After few months of aimless unemployment, I heard a sermon called, “Direction God speaks and Direction God orchestrates.” It blew my mind. I grew up thinking God’s direction meant hearing his voice, such as, “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country … to the land that I will show you’” (Gen. 12:1).
I read that and thought, “That’s exactly what I want. A word.” I bet you do too.
God does speak to us directly. He does. He also speaks through others. A man on a plane told me a story that changed my life. He wasn’t a believer, yet he spoke God’s word.
In our longing to hear God, let’s recognize that he speaks with surprising voices; donkeys may prophecy (Num. 22:28), stones may praise; and our friends and enemies—even movies and stories—will speak God’s word to bring direction.
Then the sermon taught me another way God provides direction.
Direction God orchestrates
I had never thought of God’s direction through his orchestration. Yet, God orchestrated Joseph to become Prime Minister, even using his brothers’ evil actions. God arranged for Esther to become Queen “for such a time as this.” His direction was obvious but silent.
We sometimes miss God’s direction if we’re looking for a voice while God orchestrates.
So I took some time to reflect on God’s orchestration in my life.
I learned about software by accident … or through God’s silent direction. Thirty years ago I learned to program out of curiosity. I bought a computer before anyone I knew had one. (Yes, yes, and there were dinosaurs in the land too.)
That little programming landed me a job at a software company. I had an idea—really a frustration— and it got me promoted. I became a Vice President shortly before the owner decided to sell the company to its three officers, including me.
I became a company owner because of God’s orchestration, not because of his “voice.”
I was inspired and encouraged to see God’s past directions through his surprising voice (the man on the plane) and his orchestration of my life. But what about my now? I was still purposeless, not knowing what to do. There was no direction from God.
Then God showed me another way he directs. It’s the scariest and the most thrilling.
The direction God instills
I kept pleading for direction, and finally God answered me with, “What do you want to do?” My inner response was, “No way. I want a voice or some orchestration.” God was saying, “Do what you desire. That’s my direction.” I was thrilled. The person I most deeply want to be is the person I am meant to be.
But it’s scary. It’s like taking the training wheels off my bike, the training wheels of God’s voice and orchestration. It’s freedom, but it’s a scary kind of freedom.
Training wheels are used to provide external balance while the child develops internal balance. God uses the external directions of his voice and orchestration as he matures our desires, an inner balance from desires instilled (and purified) by God.
Let’s not take the metaphor too far. God is always speaking and always orchestrating. So the “training wheels” never really come off. But he also uses these “directions” to create a third direction, found—or heard—in the direction of desires he places in our hearts.
I got into the computer field through God’s directions of speaking and orchestration. As a software analyst I learned to dig beneath the surface of a client request, and I learned to express complicated concepts to non-technical people.
I learned to reflect (on complexities) and express (more clearly). I loved it. Except now I do it through heart beliefs instead of software application. I love this even more. This is what I’m meant to do. God directed me through my desires.
Let’s listen to our life
Frederick Buechner wrote,
“There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that…. Listen to your life.” (Now and Then)
Most people I know simply want to be told what to do or want circumstances to dictate.
There comes a time when God removes our training wheels. Perhaps we hear silence, or doors don’t open. God may be saying, “The training wheels are off” (or raised).
When this silence happens, let’s, “Listen to our life.”
What do you think?
- How has God spoken and orchestrated in your life?
- What desires has God instilled and awakened?
- Do you believe you are meant to do what you most deeply want to do?