I have used this analogy before but I believe it warrants repeating.
Bill was in big trouble. He was sitting on his roof during a terrible flood, and the water was already up to his feet. He was a Christian so he did what most of us do after we have exhausted all other avenues: he prayed. He asked that God would provide a miracle and rescue him.
Before long a fellow in a boat paddled by and shouted, ‘‘Can I give you a lift to higher ground?’’
‘‘No thanks,’’ Bill said, ‘‘I have faith in the Lord that he will save me.’’
Soon the water rose to Bill’s waist. At this point, a motorboat pulled up and someone called out, ‘‘Can I give you a lift to higher ground?’’
‘‘No thanks,’’ Bill said, ‘‘I have faith in the Lord and he will save me.’’
Later a helicopter flew by and spotted Bill, who was now standing on the roof with water up to his neck.
‘‘Grab the rope and I’ll pull you up,’’ the pilot said.
‘‘No thanks,’’ Bill said, a little less confidently, ‘‘I have faith in the Lord and he will save me.’’
But finally, after hours of treading water, poor exhausted Bill drowned and went to his reward.
As he arrived at the Pearly Gates, Bill met his Maker and complained about the turn of events.
‘‘Tell me, Lord,’’ he said, ‘‘I had such great faith in you to save me but you let me down. What happened?’’
The Lord replied, ‘‘What more did you want from me? I sent you two boats and a helicopter.’’
I like this story because there are times I relate to Bill. In hindsight I realise that there have been times when God has spoken to me but I missed it.
The Bible tells us that His ways are not our ways. How, then, do we distinguish when it is God speaking to us or not?
Though the process of trial and error, in my case mainly error, I have discovered it is simply a case of listening and getting to know how He speaks to us individually.
The more time I spend quietly in God’s presence, the clearer his voice becomes to me. He wants to speak to us — and he does in many ways — however, because we are so busy we miss wonderful insights and directions that would save us a lot of unnecessary hardship.
Take a little time out with him today.
Practise listening; it’s amazing what you will hear.