A few days ago, I had the opportunity to watch some middle school students actively engaged in a round of the popular children’s game, Telephone. In this game, one person whispers a message to the next person in line. After the message has been whispered all around, the last person repeats the message they were given aloud. As you can imagine, the message becomes quite garbled among the whispers and giggles being shared among all participants. Eventually, the original message becomes completely lost in translation.
While this was simply a team-building exercise in my Journalism class, I began to think of the parallel that often exists between this game and our communication with God. How many times have we prayed and asked God for something, but instead of listening closely to what He has to say, we may repeat what we think He said? Or perhaps we just make up an answer that is in accordance with our will, instead of His. Or maybe we do not listen at all, thinking that He has not answered our prayer.
While we may not always understand God’s will for our lives, or we may not comprehend His answer, He truly knows best. Sometimes, God will answer our prayers with a definite, “Yes.” Other times, He may answer our prayers by saying, “No.” And at times, He may simple say, “Not now.” Regardless of what answer we receive, we need to be content with His response. God is aware of our desires, our wants, and our needs. He knows where we are at in life. In Philippians 4:11 (ESV), Paul tells us, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” No matter what is going on around us, we can be happy. If we are in God’s will, we will be content.
In John 18:37 (NIV), Jesus tells Pilate, “‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’” Notice that Jesus points out what Pilate says. Then, He goes on to tell Pilate that everyone who is truthful listens to him. In other words, Jesus is saying those who listen to Him are honest people. If we choose to ignore the things that Jesus tells us, then we are being dishonest. We need to listen to His words, in order to fully enjoy our relationship with the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
In the same way, a child needs to maintain a level of honesty with their parents, in order to experience effective communication. Imagine a young boy who is asked by his parents to clean his room. Instead of hearing this request, he “thinks” he is supposed to go to his room and play a “clean” video game. Certainly, the child heard the original request. However, his own desires cause him to purposefully lose some of the meaning, being left with a fragment of the request. All he chooses to remember is that it was something to do with his room. In the end, he does not perform the task that he is asked to do, ultimately making himself untrustworthy in the eyes of his parents.
When was the last time God asked you to do something? Perhaps He asked you to call a dear friend who was critically ill in the hospital, but you didn’t have time. While you may have been busy, God knew that calling your friend tomorrow would be too late. Or maybe God requested that you stay home and resist the urge to go shopping, but instead, you went to the store. God knew that you would have your purse stolen if you went shopping at that particular time of day. And you might have felt the urge to stop and pray for someone at work, but you felt out of place, asking to pray for them in public. God knew that your coworker needed to be reminded of the hope that only Jesus can give. Without this reminder, they could have been planning to take their own life that very evening. You see, God knows more than we do. He knows what we should choose to do, and He knows what we will choose. Additionally, He knows the consequences we will suffer if we do not choose wisely.
God will not ask us to do more than we are capable of doing. Still, He knows the comings and goings of every single individual on earth. And He knows who His children should be with, what they should be doing, when they should do it, why they either will or will not do it, and where they should be. He loves you. He cares for you. And He does not want any harm to come to you. God wants what is best for all of His children. Don’t let the wisdom and guidance God has designed especially for you get lost in translation. Listen to His still, small voice today, and stand amazed at what God has planned for your life!
In Christ’s Love,