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Listening Leads to Obedience

Updated: May 5

Last year, I read a book entitled 4 Minutes to Hear God’s Voice. The author, Me Ra Koh, shares her journey in developing listening to God as a lifestyle.

This book challenged my view of prayer and my one-sided approach to communing with God. It taught me how to cultivate a listening approach to prayer, and helped me see how our loving God invites us into an adventure with Him.

As a result, I’ve been paying more attention to God’s movement in everyday situations.

Recently, I felt a nudge to begin praying for my small group. We were about to kick off a new study. While in prayer, I felt the Lord impress on me to "love on them extravagantly." I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I knew inside He was drawing me to hold these women close. This thought came to mind repeatedly, and my heart responded with a resounding "Yes, Lord."

Knowing what He told me but still unsure of precisely what to do, I took a step of faith and decided to put a care package together for each member.

"What do I pack inside?" A small blanket and a journal to take notes for the upcoming study might be nice.

I recalled my friend Jennifer previously had crocheted blankets and sold them. I was doubtful she would have enough for my group since she is extremely busy with two young children.

Even so, I reached out to her to see if she had a few I could purchase for my packages. "Come on over," she said. When I arrived at Jen’s house, she surprised me when she began opening bin after bin to show me the nearly 30 blankets that she had.

Photo: Laurene Klassen

She had made these during a dark season when she took her daughter with special needs to therapy sessions. She explained that she had used crocheting to calm anxiety and pursue peace through creativity and found comfort by knowing she would make these as gifts for others. "Take what you want!" she said with a smile.

Amazed by her generosity, I proceeded to pick seven gorgeous lap blankets.

Obeying the nudge to love extravagantly, I began delivering packages locally and mailing them across the country. Texas, Massachusetts, California, and Oklahoma – every woman would receive a box of encouragement.

Our group finally kicked off, and the ladies were excited to be together again and welcome new faces.

They were especially touched when learning that each blanket was a one-of-a-kind design and took approximately 20-30 hours to make.

I included a note with each gift. The golden-toned blanket had a message that said, "I see God’s love shine all over you. I hope this blanket reminds you of that."  The woman who received it said, "I heard a sermon two weeks ago about our lives being like light bulbs to shine God’s love. This blanket reminds me of that!"

I knew God was especially touching these women, but an extraordinary story began to develop while I wasn’t looking. Thinking it might be meaningful for the giver and receivers to meet, I asked Jennifer if she would join us after our series concluded.

Week after week, our group met. In our last week of study, we learned that hope is a calling, and we are to be a distributor of hope. We concluded our study with the following verse.

"I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance." Ephesians 1:18 (NLT)

On the weekend before my group was to welcome Jennifer, a member asked if she could invite someone to hear her speak. Wanting any newcomers to be received the same way the others had been, I reached back out to my friend to see if I could have one more blanket.

"They are all still here. Do with them what you will," Jen said.

Each woman in my Bible study group had received a package carefully curated for them. They knew what it felt like to be surprised by love. 

Now it was their turn to shine His light and distribute His hope.

I text my group, "Who wants to help me give some blankets away?"

One by one, I began hearing from them. "My daughter is struggling; she needs to be encouraged." Another wrote, "My colleague at work is going through a difficult season; I’d love one for her." One member shared, "I have some friends going through a rough time right now."

At the end of the weekend, each member had taken at least one, and all committed to giving intentionally by encouraging someone. I had heard from every woman, and their requests totaled the exact number available.

As I consider this story, I see God's handiwork crafting several lessons into one masterpiece.

God desires to speak to His children. When we pause long enough, we can gain insight into His direction from His word and see His movement in our lives.

When we position ourselves to have an obedient heart and follow God’s gentle nudges, we make room for Him to be glorified.

Are you listening to Him?

"My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27-28 HCSB

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