Roy and his wife Daphne, out of their own brokenness, feel called to a retreat centre in Pembrokeshire. They stumble upon the simple act of blessing everyone who comes to them, blessing the valley, blessing the nearby towns. This simple act unleashes miracles–the farmers’ yields go up, the livestock have multiple births, B & B’s win awards, long-submerged streams start flowing. But they don’t seek to convict or convert, just to bless.
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As his retreat centre prospers, and there are miracles, healings and deliverances from oppression, as people encounter the presence of God there, other people come wanting to know his “method.”
But he has no method to pass on. Roy Godwin writes, “The key is searching for God, learning to listen for his voice, burrowing into his heart, listening to what he says, and then doing it, however simple or complex it might be.
If He says it, do it. If He doesn’t tell you to do anything, then why are you doing things? Why not just sit at his feet?”
I love this.
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Because sometimes, God puts you in a place in which learning to hear his voice is absolutely vital and crucial for you. A matter of health and sanity.
For me, as I’ve blogged before, I reached the stage where hearing the voice of God was vital for my life in 2006-2007, when we put both girls into an expensive private school, Oxford High School, and bought our dream house.
It rapidly became obvious that I would need to bring in real money, but how? I had taught Creative Writing at the College of William and Mary before, and found teaching was incompatible with writing, and too great a drain on my energy.
Write rapidly? In retrospect, I wish I had tried that–there have been books knocked off to pay for parent’s funerals (Johnson’s Rasselas) to pay off debts (Dostoevsky’s), but I didn’t have the faith or the energy.
Instead, I decided to start a business. I have three college and university degrees, but all in English and Creative Writing. What an amazing background to start a business with, right?
My first business attempt was exhausting and time-consuming. It was fun (selling antiquarian books) but definitely not sustainable for someone who loves leisure, reading and writing.
And so, as in Psalm 107, I had to continually cry out to the Lord in my distress, because I was SO tired, and SO overwhelmed, and life was SO hard. And he responded by removing the burden from my shoulders, setting my hands free from the basket. He gave me a sustainable idea–publishing the very antiquarian books which were so in demand when I put them up on auction on Ebay.
And that enterprise was greatly blessed because (as far as I could tell), it came from God’s brain, not mine.
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So I stumbled upon the vital importance of what Roy Godwin says, “Searching for God, learning to listen for his voice, burrowing into his heart, listening to what he says…
I do set aside long hours, mostly on holiday (luckily the rest of my family have more hiking and swimming energy than I have) to seek God’s face, rest in his presence, to run through the details of my life with him, checking in with him about them, seeking his wisdom and guidance and correction on what I am currently doing, and seeking his guidance for the future.
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Now I need to work on the second part of this paragraph, which leapt out at me last night. “If he doesn’t tell you to do anything, then why are you doing things? Why not just sit at his feet?” Indeed!! That is the other part of our life which needs to be put through the sieve when in the presence of God.
The things that are draining and sapping you, did God tell you to do them? No? Then just stop. Why not just sit at his feet and wait?
We need to have drastically pruned lives to bear fruit.
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And so, I am increasingly putting my life through the sieve of God’s will.
What does he want me to do in each area of my life? And what I am currently doing which he never told me to do? And this includes innocuous things, good things, helpful things–but which, however, are not things that God told me to do.