“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.”

The ‘Message’ version of these words from a wise man, written centuries ago, came pounding into my brain like a pneumatic drill in September. I’ve known the reference ever since mum wrote it in the front of a Bible she gave to me in my late teens – and it’s meant a lot. But still the words come again, insistently and authoritatively, at a time when I’m experiencing the paralysis of uncertainty.

You see, only weeks ago school informed me that my teaching input is no longer required.  In effect, it means I’m no longer in ‘gainful employment’ for the first time since leaving state education at the age of 17.  Of course, I appreciate how remarkably fortunate I have been in this regard for many, many years.  Somehow though it doesn’t change the feeling of suddenly being ‘on the shelf’ – which took hold in vice-like fashion, I must admit – not to mention the daunting prospects of  ‘job hunting’ and a potential move out of the area,  with all the upheaval that could entail.

Hence words encouraging ‘trust’ are remarkably pertinent and most challenging indeed, in these moments when my understanding is in a degree of turmoil, and everything inside me is making a supreme effort to figure out what’s going on, and what should happen next !

If you’ve been there then I’m sure you will understand and empathize.

Trust is dynamic, and at the heart of good relationships. It is variable, is rarely a ‘fixed’ constant, ebbs and flows like the tides, and depends on the quality of inter-actions between relating ‘parties’. Interestingly, the communication aspect is emphasized here in our wise man’s words – and listening is a vital component of that equation.

“Listen for God’s voice…” indicates that He did not speak in the past only, but also that He speaks currently into our frenetic lives – it’s just that, in my case, I can be too busy, or so preoccupied, that I fail to stop and listen, or (as the psalmist urges) to ‘be still and know’ .

This is definitely not the hour when men take kindly to an exhortation to listenobserves A W Tozer, for listening is not today a part of popular religion…”  Writing prophetically he continues, “… it is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us, put into our familiar human words … a new world will arise out of the religious mists when we approach our Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking” – cited from his book, The Pursuit of God (1948)

Mmmm – could be I’m hearing something – or Someone !