Bugsy, my daughter's rabbit decided he'd had enough of being confined to his cage and run in the garden, he wanted to see the world!
On this particular morning my kids were at school/college, Jason was at work and I'd been out having a great time at my bible study group for mums. When I got home I had a lot on my mind, thinking about what to have for lunch and what chores to do before everyone came home at the end of the day. I locked my car door and as I walked to my front door, some rustling came from the bush at the side of our house. The thought came to my mind that this could be Bugsy, but I dismissed this idea as quickly as it had come, after all Bugsy was secure in his run, it had to be a bird hopping around in the bush or probably one of the neighbourhood cats.
|Jess with Bugsy|
I thought nothing more about it and got on with my afternoon. About 45 minutes later there was a knock at my door. I opened it to find my neighbour standing there, telling me she had seen one of our rabbits on the pavement outside my house and he had now run back into a bush (that same bush I had mentioned earlier!) I couldn't thank her enough for letting me know. Jess would have been devastated if anything had happened to Bugsy. After a few minutes of playing hide and seek with this runaway rabbit I managed to get him safely secured in his cage once again. Somehow he'd managed to pry loose the catch on his run and then he had run through the garden and out of our iron side gate. How long he'd been free I have no idea!
I learnt two important lessons that day:
1. I believe it was God who had placed the idea in my head when I'd come home that Bugsy was in the bush, but instead of listening to his prompting I had ignored him.
Read how God spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12: "And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper." (NLT)
How often do you and I ignore God's "gentle whisper", his still, small voice speaking into our lives? How often do we fail to act on what he says? Maybe we are just too busy to hear him, perhaps our minds are so full of other things that we just can't hear his voice above everything else that is clamouring for our attention. Maybe we just don't recognise that it's his voice we are hearing. Perhaps you and I need to re-evaluate our lives, because if we're too busy to hear him then basically we are too busy. Where is God's place in my life, in your life? Is he someone I just add on with everything else or is he a priority in my life? Does my relationship with him come first before everything and everyone else? Do I make time to hear from him? Time when I'm quiet and still before him, just to soak in his presence and learn to hear his voice? Perhaps we recognise his voice but we choose not to listen, we dismiss what he's saying because what we hear doesn't make sense to us, or we're afraid to act because we're afraid of others' opinions, or we just plain don't want to obey. I can tell you that I regret not listening to God that day.
When you hear God say speak to the visitor who has entered your church for the first time and looks lonely and lost, when God brings a verse to mind and tells you that's for someone you know and you're to give it to them, when he tells you to sit next to the stranger on the bus, when he tells you to stop what you are doing because you need to listen to your teenage daughter who has just come home from a long day at school, when he tells you to invite someone round for a coffee, when he tells you to share your faith with a colleague at work etc. what will you do? Will you listen to his still, small voice and will you act on it? Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock." (NLT) God wants to use you and me to bless those around us and when we do we find that he will also bless us as we take that step of faith, trusting in his promptings. Or will you ignore him and later have to deal with regret, wishing you had acted on his voice?
2. God cares about every part of our life and he cares about what we care about. In the scheme of things a pet rabbit is pretty insignificant, but I believe God cared about Bugsy because he knew just how much this rabbit means to Jess. That rabbit could have gone anywhere, anything could have happened to it and we would never have found him, but God kept him close to our home, and when I didn't respond to his prompting, he made sure someone else discovered our runaway and told me.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, 28, 30 "26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?" (NLT)
God cares about every detail in our lives and he wants us to share them with him. Don't ever think God can't be interested in you, that you're too insignificant, that there are more important people and more important things for him to give his attention to. That's a lie that the devil would have you believe because he just doesn't want you to believe God's truth about yourself and that you matter to God. God wants us to share with him the things that matter to us, both the big concerns we have such as changing jobs, coping with elderly parents, dealing with a challenging teenager etc as well as our small concerns such as what to cook for dinner tonight, will my young child ever sleep through the night, or a pet that is poorly etc.
In 1 Peter 5:7 we read "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (NLT) I really like how the amplified bible words it: "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." Wow! There's a lot to encourage you and me in that one verse, isn't there? Nothing is too big or too small for his care. Unlike us who can only give our attention to one person at a time, because he's God he can give his attention to me when I'm concerned over something minor at the same time he's giving his attention to someone else who is facing a big worry. No one misses out on his care. Don't tell yourself that if you go to God about a particular need you have that you will be taking his time and attention away from someone else, so you'd better just keep it to yourself. That's another lie the devil puts in your mind because he wants to keep you from the amazing relationship that God wants to have with you. If we believe what the devil tells us then we are actually believing that God is less than who he is...that he's not really God. Yet God is the Almighty God, Lord of the universe, the one who watches over everything and he still has the time and the capacity to care about you and me.
To Think About:
When have you heard God's gentle whisper? Have you responded to it?
Do you need to make any changes in your life so that you can more easily hear his voice?
Share today with God any cares or concerns that you have, whether they are big or small.