The Still Small Voice

Strategic Listening: Further on and Further in

 

Chapter Eight, Part Seven

Further on and Further in

And there lay a little old woman . . . She was at death’s door, but when she opened her eyes and saw the bright, hairy head of the lion staring into her face, she did not scream or faint. She said, ‘Oh Aslan! . . . I’ve been waiting for this all my life. Have you come to take me away?’ ‘Yes, Dearest,’ said Aslan. ‘But not the long journey yet.’

I love Aslan’s words in the concluding Chronicle of Narnia: ‘Further on and further in!’ However much we may have experienced already, the Lord has more in store for us.

As we advance along the path the Lord has laid out for us, we find that He has gone ahead, to anoint us for fresh endeavours, and to reward us for assignments faithfully accomplished

It is no sign of second best, however, if we are only able to discern the Lord’s leading when we look back on something in retrospect.

Neither should we consider ourselves ‘second rate’ if we do not hear the Lord in the ways I have set out in this book. With the Lord it is never a matter of ‘either or’ but rather of ‘both and . . .’

In many contexts just to show love and kindness to others is every bit as important as ‘hearing’ a word from the Lord for them. Neither can we perpetuate or preserve the Still Small Voice, any more than Peter could prolong the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, or Mary could keep hold of the Lord Jesus in the garden after the Resurrection. What we can and must do is to continue to abide in Him whatever pressures and distractions are directed our away by the ever vigilant and hostile powers of darkness.

We were never meant to rely on our own unaided efforts and resources. ‘Do not throw away your confidence,’ the Scriptures urges us; ‘it will be rewarded.’ The Lord will not fail to find surprising ways to accomplish all that He has promised. As he neared his homecoming, the Lord spoke to David Watson. ‘All your writing and all your preaching are as nothing compared with your relationship with Me.’

This is a fitting emphasis on which to draw this book to a close. On a Parisian Metro station, back in the mid 1970’s, I had just said goodbye to a fellowship that had meant a great deal to me. I was feeling an almost overwhelming feeling of loss and was singing under my breath, ‘O Jesus I have promised, to serve Thee to the end.’ Suddenly, I was engulfed in a profound sense of the Lord’s presence. For a prolonged moment the presence of Heaven drew close, and it was as though I heard an astonishing echo: ‘And I have promised to serve you to the end.’

How great He is, that He stoops down to serve His children. Therefore we can rest in the love that has supported us all the days of our life, and embark with confidence on all that He has called us to be and to do.

May you always have the courage to step out with what you believe God is saying to you. Despite the risks and the potential embarrassment, He honours those who honour Him!

For Reflection and Prayer

High King of Heaven,
You release that which is deadlocked,
and raise the dead to life.
May there never be a day when we fail to seek Your face
or do something to advance Your Kingdom,
as we commit ourselves to the adventure
of following Your Still Small Voice.

Draw the sting of every hurt we have sustained,
every disappointment that weighs us down,
every situation that remains unresolved,
and turn them round for Your glory.
Let no residue of bitterness cloud our minds
as we push in Your name through every obstacle
until what You have promised comes to pass.

Immerse us now in the depths of Your love.
Quiet our minds from care and worry,
ward off danger and keep us from evil
As we soak in the life that is really life,
may Your angels guard and guide
each day that we live for You,
and cleanse the stream of our thoughts.

Lord of Glory,
Put fears and fancies to flight.
Settle our spirits in the Peace of all Peace,
in the full awareness of the host of Heaven.
In the name of the Father, who calls and sustains us,
The Prince of Peace, who gives life to our souls, and
The Spirit of Power, who directs our days.

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