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The Still Small Voice by Robert Weston

The Art of
When Visions Fade
From View

. . .He had hardly left the hospital
before the Lord caught up with him: ‘You too have been too active for Me, and have not taken enough time to be occupied with Me.’


The Art of Reflection

When visions fade from view

The Lord usually gives a ‘starter’ promise at the outset of some project or vision. Somewhere along the way, this almost invariably fades from vies. This is when our faith is tested.

Gaining the Lord’s perspective requires persistence. When visions fade from view, our attempts to reflect on what is happening may feel alarmingly like a merry-go-round. We go over and over matters in our heads until it feels as though we are going in circles – rather like driving round and round Hyde Park Corner in London, until we begin to wonder if we are going to run out of gas. It is a great relief when we finally spot the direction sign we were searching for, and are free to continue the journey.

At a time when I was searching for a Personal Assistant, Sally Mowbray wrote to me out of the blue, offering her services. Not feeling anything either way, but realizing that it must have taken a lot of courage for her to write, Ros and I decided to go and visit her to see what the Lord might have in store.

Unbeknownst to us, a friend rang Sally just before we arrived to tell her that this was going to be a highly significant encounter. It quickly became abundantly obvious that this was entirely a ‘God-thing’ – and so it has proved to be. We are so grateful.

For Reflection and Prayer

In the English Lake District, I was intrigued to see a stream whose waters suddenly vanished underground, leaving an empty rock-strewn bed continuing down the mountainside. Geographers call this phenomenon a swallow hole. Don’t panic if something similar happens to you spiritually. Stay true to the course the Lord has set you on. Push through the obstacles. Explore the possibilities. Leave no stone unturned. The waters will resurface further downstream!

  Father, forgive us when we say that You have left us,
and speak and act as though our trials are too great
when, in reality, it is our trust which is too small.
Help us to embrace the royal road of repentance
and the gritty road of perseverance –
for somewhere along these paths
Your purposes will re-emerge and triumph.

Changing course when course changes are called for

Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (Acts 16:6)

When the captain of a ship contacts the engine room for a change of course, he expects his orders to be obeyed immediately. We must be equally as alert to heed our Captain’s orders – especially if He indicates that a change of course is called for.

Never one to make his plans lightly, Paul must have had excellent reasons for wanting to go to Bithynia – but it was not to be. By ways we are not informed about, the Spirit of the Lord intervened to prevent him from doing so. All that matters is that the apostles obeyed the warning, and headed right away from the region they had been hoping to evangelize.

On another occasion Paul announced that he intended to go on a mission to Spain.
[11] As it turned out, he ended his days in captivity, a long way from either Spain or Jerusalem. Did Paul rattle his chains and bemoan how unfair it was that the Lord had set Peter free from prison while his own life was being poured out like a drink offering?

Not a bit of it. Refusing all trace of self-pity, Paul turned his prison experience to his advantage by penning the Epistles that today, along with the Gospels, form the backbone of the New Testament. How many millions have his letters reached? Countless more than would have been the case had he achieved his original goal and preached the gospel in the Iberian Peninsula.

When the unexpected happens, and our plans are overturned, may we be flexible enough to hear the Still Small Voice telling us to try something different.

For Reflection and Prayer

Let’s face the fact, folks. Not all our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. Reflect on some of the opportunities the Lord has not allowed to come your way. Eight times out of ten, you can probably look back and realize what a good thing it was that those particular doors did not open up. If God had granted you what you thought you wanted so badly at the time, it might have prevented you from getting to the ‘somewhere else’ He had in mind for you. Or it might have been too much for you to bear. And the other times? That is where we have to leave it all with the Lord. He is so much wiser than we are!

  Father, in every time of change,
keep us alert and ready.
At every cross roads on the way,
be our sign-post, guide and Comforter
When doors slam shut in our faces,
grant us not just a passive resignation
but an active expectation that You can bring about
something still richer by opening other doors instead.
  Enlarge the scope of our listening, Father.
May the Holy Spirit direct our thinking,
rather than our minds quenching Your Spirit.
May neither fear nor prejudice hold us back
from seeking Your face and following Your leading.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
11 Romans 15:24,28
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