I luv sea turtles. My daughter lives in Florida and we have tried for several years to go on a sea turtle watch there, but it has not worked out. In 2019, before COVID hit, I was visiting her and as we walked on one of the beaches we saw a sea turtle baby washed up on the shore. I was so excited! I got to see in nature how these little creations live and the dangers they face. We knew not to pick it up, so my daughter called the preservation unit to come and rescue it. We knew without doubt they would bring the baby turtle to safety.
Sometimes I feel like that baby sea turtle when I try to hear God’s voice. I feel like I have spent hours in the turbulent waters, only to wash up on the sand alone and afraid. I strain to hear God’s voice telling me how to get back to safety, to direct my thoughts on decisions I must make, and feeling like I just cannot hear what He is telling me to do. How do I know it is not my own advice when I finally make a decision? How do I know I am going down the right path? How do I know I will not fail because I did not wait on God? The truth is, I do not know the answer to any of these.
Sometimes we stay so focused on making sure we hear God’s voice that we lose sight of Jesus.
“And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared Moses and Elijah, talking with Him. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here. If You wish, I will make three tents here, one for You, and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.’ When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them saying, ‘Rise, and have no fear.’ And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” Matthew 17:1-8
Peter, James, and John knew Jesus one – to – one. They walked with Him, learned from Him, and trusted in Him. Their faith was being built every day that Jesus was their Savior and that He had come to show them the right path to a relationship with God. Leading up to this event in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus had taught about being careful to focus on the truth of Jesus rather than the signs in the sky and the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. To focus on His words rather than the perceived lack in their needs. At one point, Peter professed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (vs16). And yet, when Jesus started telling them of his death, Satan used Peter to try to move their focus from God to man. Finally, Jesus instructs them to take up their daily needs, thoughts, ambitions, family and friends, and follow Him. That was the plan.
The start of chapter 17 is “And….” this is telling us that Jesus is continuing their conversation from chapter 16. So they go to what we now call the Mount of Transfiguration for further teaching, for prayer, for instruction. Jesus became the righteousness, the light of God, right before them. I can only imagine! But look what happens. Peter focuses on the physical aspect of this miraculous event. OK, there are three people, we must need three tents to house them. Chop chop! Let’s get busy! But God spoke over the natural to affirm the supernatural. Jesus is the Son of God. God is pleased with the ministry He had while on earth. And God was affirming all that Jesus had told the disciples in chapter 16 including His death, burial, and resurrection so that we could have that relationship with God that we so desperately need. “And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”
My friends, we must lift up our eyes from the troubles, decisions, wants of this world to see Jesus only. And this is where our faith in all of God’s Word comes in. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, to guide us, comfort us, and change our minds when we are exercising thoughts contrary to God’s will.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17
First of all, we must be believers in Jesus the Christ before God can help us. So if any of you out there cannot remember a time when you told Jesus that you believe He is the Son of God, one of the blessed parts of the Trinity, and that you know He died on the cross for your sins, confess those sins to Him for forgiveness and believe that you have turned your life over to Him for change to righteous living on earth, then now is the time. Reach out to me or any other Christian you know and we will help you to see the glory of being a believer in the Christ.
Jesus left the Holy Spirit with us, to live in us, and that is where our faith in believing that we are hearing the voice of God comes in. God lives in us. He knows our every thought, our every good, bad, misguided, thought. And we believe in the Holy Spirit living in us. So how can we doubt that we hear God? Yes, we are going to be in our own heads sometimes and make wrong decisions, but the Holy Spirit will not let us stay there. We will hear that still small voice in our daily living happenstances, in the results of our actions, and in the affirmations from people around us. God will get His message through to us. We don’t have to dissect His voice to know that He is in charge. If we are following Jesus daily, in God’s Word daily, then we know God’s voice in our lives.
Satan can take any good thing and turn it around for his good. Like the baby sea turtle, he can use even our questioning God’s voice to cause turbulence in our lives; like the waves tossing us back and forth until we wash up on a dry beach with no clue how to save ourselves. We have to trust in God. We have to trust without doubt that no matter where we are, like the preservationists, He will save us. He will put us back in the safe haven of His path. All we need to do is keep our focus on Jesus.