Reading Anisa’s words I am deeply struck as I connect with her heart that fiercely loves her family and fiercely loves her God. What a challenge it must have been to process that call and then seek to be fully present for the task God had given her that weekend! As I am often faced with circumstances where love for family and love for God can seem to be in disagreement, Anisa reminds me to look at God’s larger story and ask what He might be up to beyond what I can see.

– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator

It was one of those calls you can’t quite comprehend in the moment.

You did what? I continued to ask. You ran over my son?

With the truck?

I heard the words but my brain struggled to make sense of them. Like, for real? With the truck? The HUGE truck?

Fortunately, the preface words that my son was okay kept me from hysteria. But the enormity of what could have been…

It wasn’t a bump

My husband was outside Memorial Day weekend and my 13-year-old son had gone inside but came back out unnoticed and laid down in a low spot in the overgrown grass to play with the dog. My husband pulled his truck around, hit a “bump” and heard my son screaming. In a panic my husband jumped out of the truck and saw my son roll out from under the truck.

Shaken AND Stirred

I was leading a Battle for Your Domain retreat when I got the call. My husband and son were nearly three hours away and although my son’s injuries were minor enough not to warrant a trip to the ER (the tires missed him), the experience was traumatic and they were both shaken.

Over the next few days our family continued to work through our feelings, and moments of weepiness, over our close call. I returned home two days after the incident and after a thorough inspection of my son sat down with both him and my husband to try to process through what each of us was feeling. For my son, God shielded his mind as thoroughly as he did his body. But my husband was stuck replaying the scenes and the “what if” scenarios on a never-ending reel.

Where was God?

We had a humble awareness that we were spared when many other families in similar circumstances have not been. And

It wasn’t a profound question, by any means. But it was the one that only God himself could know my husband needed in that moment.

that brought comfort. But my husband struggled to move past the emotion of the event and I struggled to find the words to help him. In the face of another’s struggle I felt helpless and ill-equipped to be what he needed in that moment. All I could do was continue to pray, “What can I say? What can I do?” And in that place of petition I felt the Lord prompt me to ask, “Where was God when you were going through this experience? When you actually felt the bump, heard the scream and realized what had happen – where was God in that scenario?”

It wasn’t a profound question, by any means. But it was the one that only God himself could know my husband needed in that moment. He paused, then looked at me and said, “I guess he was driving the truck.” And with that I knew what it felt like to be an apostle in the boat when Jesus spoke to the storm and said “Peace be still.” Because as surely as God had calmed the seas, he calmed the storm that was raging in my husband’s heart.

Back to Basics

More than once I’ve found myself in places where I struggled to know how to be what another person needed. How to give hope. How to offer comfort. Compassion. At Battle for Your Domain events I’ve often shared that it’s moments like these – when I feel most inadequate – that I fall back on those basic concepts such as being fully present – sitting with the other person in his or her place of struggle – and listening in four directions, which includes being aware of where God is and what he is doing in that time and place.

…as God had calmed the seas, he calmed the storm that was raging in my husband’s heart.

As I have continued to press into the idea of listening in four directions (what is going on in the person you’re speaking to, what’s going on in your heart, being aware of how evil is hunting in a particular situation and being aware of what God’s heart is in the situation), I’ve been amazed at the impact of stopping to consider where God is. What he’s up to. Of actually asking the question, “What do you want to say to me (or him/her) in this situation?”

There are no magical one-size questions when it comes to “listening” or asking what God is up to in a given situation. The question I asked after the truck incident is likely one I’d rarely, if ever, use again. For me, listening in four directions has become more about cultivating an awareness of the fact that God is always at work and he longs to speak ALL THE TIME!

Are you listening?

For my husband, a natural protector, in the truck incident what he heard God say through that question was “It’s not all up to me.” God was with him. For me, reflecting on the same experience it was that I can trust God with those most important to me, not just physically but also their hearts.

For you it may be something different.

Maybe he wants to tell you you’re enough.

Maybe he wants to speak of his love.

 


One Step Further:

  • What question does God want to ask you today?

 

  • What would be the potential impact on those you love if you cultivated a heart to “listen” more effectively in four directions?
  • Need some guidance in listening to God? Check out these Battle Prep Devotionals