Combat of Urges, Taskovski

A Rabid Fundamentalist Column



John W. Cowart

Sometimes I get these urges.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, an urge will wake me.

You know what I mean?

Well, maybe you don't. I'd better explain.

Urges, strong feelings that I want to do something, that I ought to do a certain thing, that I NEED to do it!

Does that make it clearer? No? Maybe a specific example will help:

Once about 3 a.m., I woke up suddenly knowing that my uncle and aunt were in grave danger!

I don't know how I knew this, I just did.

I woke my wife and told her. I felt that God had warned me in a dream about my uncle’s danger. We prayed for their protection and decided that I'd better drive over to their house right now and rescue them. I threw on my clothes and drove rapidly across town to their home where I found...

Everybody safe and well and sound asleep!

Odd, isn't it?

What kind of mind game was God playing with me to mislead me like that? Or perhaps, God was not leading me at all? Maybe this urge had nothing to do with God's guidance. Maybe it was the result of the pizza and chocolate ice cream I'd eaten that evening.

Yet there have been other times when I felt the same sort of urge but it did seem as things worked out that God may have been prompting me.

Once when I drove an over-the-road truck, I felt God would have me turn off the main route across Ohio and drive north. No reason given. I debated it a while then started north away from the Interstate. Drove a few miles. Nothing happened. Decided this was dumb and pulled into a truck stop for supper before heading back to where I belonged.

While I was eating another driver walked up to my table, "Look, Buddy," he said, "I've got to talk to somebody. Could I sit here and talk to you?"

He had been driving along a different road, crying over his family problems as he drove, when he felt an urge to leave his route and come to the intersection where we meet. Neither of us even knew there was a truck stop on that road.

He left that place as a Christian with hope. He planned to go back to his wife. He said our conversation had helped.

I suspect the urges to turn off the road which the other driver and I both felt were indeed urges from God.

In both of these incidents from years ago the urges I experienced felt exactly the same.

In the first case, maybe the urge I thought had come from God really came from the pizza; in the second case, truck stops are where trucks stop, nothing miraculous about drivers meeting there.

How do you tell the difference between God's guidance and undigested pizza? Does he really guide us nowadays and how?

Here are a few guidelines I find helpful in trying to follow God's will:

First, I acknowledge that God has priority. The Creator certainly has the right to direct and expect obedience from his created beings. He not only made us but he redeemed us with his own blood. What other boss can say that? He has double right to direct us.

Second, I believe that he has given me life much as an art teacher might give a canvas to a student artist and told me to paint my own picture on it. I am responsible for what goes in the picture though he's always available for consultation and correction.

Third, he has posted a few  absolute laws on the studio wall concerning how I am to work. For instance, I'm forbidden to dip my brush in the next guy's paint jar. If I get an urge to do anything which I know is morally wrong -- contrary to the clearly posted rules  -- then I know for sure that is not in accord with the Master's will.

Fourth, I believe that the Bible is God's word and that principals I discover when I read it regularly guide me in what to do in specific situations in my marriage, my business, my recreation, and my life in general.

Now the Bible is a book; it is not a lucky charm. Opening it at random and pointing to a verse to live today by makes as little sense as picking six random numbers to bet your money on -- and it produces just as few winners.

Fifth, I listen carefully to the counsel of other people. God can indeed speak through your husband, boss, mother-in-law, children or pastor.

When my wife says, "John, that's the dumbest thing you've ever thought of", it surprises me how often she really does speak with the very voice of God.

Like any earthly father, our heavenly Father sometimes tell his children to go outside and play. It's fine with him if you choose to play football, basketball or duck-duck-goose. He just wants us to have fun. I suspect that most of the career decisions we agonize over fall into this category

God also guides us by giving us clear-cut duties; there needs be no special revelation to tell you to take care of your aging parents, to pay your bills, to feed the hungry, to do your job faithfully, to tend your children, to treat your employees generously, to pray for government officials, to feed and water the dog -- such things are givens.

God guides us through circumstances; through opening doors, through closing doors, through dreams in the night, through light in the day.

Occasionally, rarely perhaps, I think he even sends urges -- but watch those carefully unless your much more spiritually attuned than I am. It would be a shame to mistake curdling pizza for divine guidance.

The best thing to know about God's guidance is that he loves you and you are sure to like where He's guiding you to!

That's fundamental.



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