Many years ago, while working at an office supply store to supplement my income, I waited on a woman whose face seemed familiar. As we searched for the refill cartridge for her pen, I realized that the woman was Meryl Streep. I found myself fumbling for words like an awestruck teenager. Her celebrity made me self-conscious. Later, I called my wife to tell her that I had met Ms. Streep and we laughed together about my acting like a teenager in her presence.
Peter was invited to accompany Jesus to a meeting; not just any meeting. Peter, James, and John went with Jesus to a prayer meeting! On that mountain the Lord was transfigured, His face glowing, His clothing brilliantly radiant. Moses and Elijah showed up and Luke tells us that the topic of discussion was Jesus’ mission in Jerusalem, His pending death on the cross. These men were given the privilege of seeing the divinity of Jesus there, His uniqueness as the Incarnate Son of God sealed into their minds just weeks before His ultimate humiliation for the sins of the world. And what does Peter do in that moment? What he often did, bumbling his way through a situation seemingly clueless! “Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)” (Mark 9:4-6, NIV)
Ever been in a situation you did not know how to navigate? Ever found yourself overwhelmed by life, so afraid that your mind froze? In that moment, how did you act? Too often we start to thrash about, trying something, anything, to gain control. We may lash out in irrational anger, or make a stupid choice that hurts us in the long term, or quit and run. Peter babbled on about building shelters! Why? He just felt a need to say something, do something, be somebody. What happened next is a teaching moment for us all. “Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7, NIV) God told Peter to just shut up and listen!
Christian, learning to actively listen for the voice of the Spirit is a key to living in the center of God’s will, to avoiding major and costly mistakes brought on by our confusion, fear, or need to impress. The Psalm tells us to “Calm down, and learn that I am God! All nations on earth will honor me.” (Psalm 46:10, CEV) You probably know it better this way: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV)
That ancient saint, Job, found himself crushed by terrible tragedies and suffering that swept over him, one after another. His friends showed up and were so stunned by the devastation in his life, they sat stunned and speechless for days, before accusing him of some horrible, secret sin that caused God to judge him. Job reached his limits and demanded that the Lord give him some answers. God’s response to him is startling and compelling. “Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:1-7, NLT) In so many words, Job was told, like Peter, to just shut up and listen! And Job’s faith is admirable. What does he do? He declares his readiness to trust God without question! “I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth! I’ve talked too much, way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen.” (Job 40:4-5, The Message)
Unsure of where to turn, what to do?
Look away from your limited resources. Hit the pause button and wait, with expectant faith, on the Lord. Here is a word from the Word. Let it comfort you and help you to find a quiet heart that hears the voice of the Spirit. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:1-4, NIV)
Open My Eyes That I May See
Open my eyes that I may see,
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Open my ears that I may hear,
Voices of truth Thou soundest clear,
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for Thee;
Ready, my God, Thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Clara H. Fiske Scott
© Words: Public Domain