I'm guilty of pursuing God only for direction and guidance. Not saying it's wrong to go to Him and ask for clarity and next steps; He loves that! But I want to first and foremost chase God because I love Him and I want more of Him, not only because I need direction from Him. And maybe I feel I need direction from Him so consistently is because I am missing His tiny nudges and signs. Perhaps it's not that I lack his guidance, it's that I'm not in tune with His quiet messages to me.
The other morning I read in Exodus 3 about Moses and the burning bush. Moses is the man who God chose to lead Israel out slavery in Egypt. But before God could get Moses to that specific purpose for his life, He had to give him the calling and the steps to get there. Enter the burning bush.
And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, "I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned." When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."
What stands out to me is how Moses responds, and then how God acts on that response. It says that Moses first saw the bush, and then turned aside to investigate further. Then the text says "when the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him." This is so profound to me! God waited for Moses to turn aside. Moses could have just kept walking. He could have seen the bush burning and kept on moving, but he didn't. I mean, it was probably common to see a bush burning in the desert. But he stopped to investigate, and it is then that God chose to speak to Him. Because Moses chose to turn aside, he had an encounter with God where, one, he witnessed God's holiness (v 5-6) and, two, he received a calling (v 7-12).
Truly, this is all I could ask for in a moment with God. First, to just get to experience his beautiful presence, and then to receive guidance on how I can live my life to fulfill His purpose for me. What a gift!
So, this passage begs the question: What signs are in my life right now that I have not chosen to turn aside to and investigate further? What invitations to God's holiness and guidance am I inadvertently declining? I mean, I'm praying about things constantly. Asking for input and clarity. Asking for direction and guidance and blessing. Perhaps God has already answered those prayers, but I just missed the moment when I was supposed to turn aside and investigate further. If this is the case, I know God is patient with me and he will continue to give me opportunities to turn aside.
Since reading this passage, one big question I'd been asking of God for a while is finally at rest. Why? Because with this new insight, I see that He's been giving me little signs all along that, when I turn aside to examine them in the context of my prayer, make for a perfect answer, a solid "yes."
I'm laughing at how I've failed to see the prayers answered and at how good and sweet God is to be so patient and loving with me as I learn this lesson in prayer and guidance. Maybe you can relate? This passage makes me get out of my head. No doubting, no vacillating between options. Just turning aside, receiving my answer, and quietly following in obedience and gratitude. Simple as that. Wow, when was the last time I used the word "simple" to describe finding guidance from the Lord? Probably never. But clearly, that's on me. Good thing God stays the same and lovingly waits for the moment I finally see that following Him is simple, as simple as turning aside to the events in my life and seeing his "yes" or "no," and then continuing to walk with Him until the next time I need to turn aside.