There are times in life when we are hearing God’s voice but we might not realize it at the time.
Times of divine distractions.
I remember when God showed me this truth not long after we moved to Africa.
The house was hot and muggy and sticky and all things humid.
The girls had been playing together in the playroom… maybe Barbies or iPads or crafts or stuffed animals. They were playing in the heat which was causing all three girls to be slightly moody, a little bit irritated and probably greatly uncomfortable.
I was. I knew they were…
I heard the force that is Abby coming out of the play room and towards me with anger in every step.
She was quite upset.
I looked at her face, all wet with sweat… her hair curling and sticking to her cheeks and neck.
She looked miserable. and mad.
“Mom! My sisters are…” and on and on she went with tears forming in her eyes. Her complaints a mile long with whatever it was her sisters had apparently done to her. Her voice continued to raise as she thought back over all the things that had happened. The more she talked, the more worked up she became.
Face red, tears streaming… what we call hopping mad. And for my fireball Abby… she was very hopping mad.
Yet, as I listened to her long rant against her sisters, I saw something completely different.
She wasn’t really all that mad at her sisters. They hadn’t really done anything to her to cause this type of raucous.
She wasn’t angry at them necessarily… and all the things she was listing wouldn’t have been such an issue any other time.
But that moment?
She was hot. And sticky. The air muggy around her. Between that and the many mosquito bites covering her small body, she was downright tired and probably not feeling very well.
I could see that her hurt and her tears and her loud voice were all fired by the mere discomforts of the moment. So much more from the temperature in the house than anything her sisters might have done to her that day.
I could see that. I could see a tired and hot and itchy little girl.
All she could see was the unkindness of her sisters.
My eyes saw things a mom sees. My senses could take in the bigger picture. As the mom, I was able to evaluate the whole situation and not just the injustices that Abby felt in the playroom.
So as Abby continued to cry and even yell, I looked on with compassion.
“Abs…” I started. “How about a shower?”
She stopped talking and looked at me.
“You will feel so much better after a cool shower.” I said.
Her face instantly reddened again and she cried, “Why are you distracting me? Stop distracting me! Didn’t you hear what they did? I…”
She kept talking, starting over and relisting the account anew.
“Honey, listen to mommy… you are hot. and tired. and sticky. It makes everything worse. Let’s take a cool shower and you will feel better. I promise.”
She cried harder, “Mommy! I do not need a shower! You keep saying that! Stop distracting me! Why don’t you listen to me? This has nothing to do with a shower!”
As she cried, I slowly moved her towards the bathroom.
She continued to tell me her troubles as I got her ready to take a cool shower.
All soaped and lathered, she began to quiet down.
The tears subsided. She may have even smiled.
She calmed right down, felt better, put on clean clothes.
We brushed her hair and the wet hair helped keep her cool. She walked out of the bathroom a new little girl.
Happy, content and problems of the day quite solved.
Mommy to the rescue.
A few days later, I was retelling the story to a friend.
And I saw it a little bit differently.
I saw myself as Abby sometimes.
Fully capable of recounting a full list of wrongs, injustices, upsets, perceived unkindnesses, miscommunications and so on.
I can very easily see the crazy things around me, wonder at the whys and couldn’ts and wishes of situations past and present and future. I can list and rant and cry and even get red in the face.
Sometimes to myself. Sometimes with God. Sometimes to my poor unsuspecting husband. And if it is a really rough day, even a friend who happened to ask, “How are you doing?”
Yes. I can be Abby sometimes.
And God. He is so gentle and merciful.
I know He looks down with compassion.
He sees all the things I’m not really that mad at. He sees all the other factors effecting my emotions, my feelings, my heart. He already knows the things I can’t see around me that are bothering me more than even the things I’m ranting on and on about.
He sees me as I saw Abby.
With love. understanding. an incredible desire to meet a true need, a big need.
And even sometimes, when he offers us a solution… we fail to see it as that. Hearing God’s voice can seem complicated and so we miss it in the midst of our struggle.
Sometimes, like sweet Abs, we cry out at God’s solution and say, “Stop distracting me! Aren’t you doing to do something about such and such??? Aren’t you listening to me?”
When He, all-knowing and all-loving, is offering us something we really need?
A divine distraction of sorts that will help us more than we could understand in the moment…
A kind of answered prayer that we didn’t even begin to pray for… Hearing God’s voice speak exactly what we need to hear at that specific moment in time.
A way of reaching down and touching our lives that will impact us far greater than we could imagine…
These moments build trust in our God. They teach us to except these divine distractions as permission to stop. to breathe. to heal. to learn. to grow.
God guides us to streams of living water we didn’t know were there, allows us to cool off and rest, to refresh.
And, in what may feel like a distraction, is what we needed all along.
A wonderful, divine distraction that helps us in hearing God’s voice and points us directly to Him.