Seeking God’s guidance. We are told to do it, we know that it’s what we should be doing. Why then, is it so hard?
It’s true that sometimes, deep down in our hearts, we don’t want Him to guide, because somewhere inside we know that where we want to go is not the right way.
Other times, however, we truly do want to hear His voice. We long for guidance, we crave His direction; but somehow He seems to be silent.
A wise person once said that whenever there is a problem with God, it is on our side, not God’s; and I believe this is the case here as well. When we do not receive guidance from God, it is because we are not accessing it appropriately.
So what is the appropriate way to access God’s guidance?
This is actually outlined for us in the Bible, in four simple steps. In this two-part mini-series based on Daniel 10, we will unpack these steps, piece by piece, in order to learn the Biblical way to seek God’s guidance!
Step 1: Humility
This vital preparatory step is found in verse 2: “At that time I, Daniel, had been mourning for three weeks. I had eaten no rich food, no meat or wine had entered my mouth, and I had not anointed myself at all, for the full three weeks.” (Daniel 10:2-3 NRSV). Daniel wants more than anything to hear God’s voice, so what does he do? He humbles himself before the Lord. He participates in a form a fasting that has since become known as a “Daniel fast” — A fast that restricts what you can eat rather than when you eat it. In addition to this, he isn’t bathing or doing anything that we might consider to be comforting or stress relieving. Rather, he is putting everything into seeking God. He is, with his actions, acknowledging the fact that God has all the answers.
Could it be that this is where we fail when we seek God’s guidance? We don’t humble ourselves before God?
Step 2: Persistence
The second step to seeking God’s guidance is found in these same verses: “I had eaten no rich food, no meat or wine had entered my mouth, and I had not anointed myself at all, for the full three weeks.” (Daniel 10:2-3 NRSV). I don’t know about you, but my maximum for seeking God’s guidance is usually about three days. At that time, I usually convince myself that God isn’t going to answer, or that maybe He has agreed with my inclination! But Daniel was persistent. He didn’t give up. He just kept humbling himself until God responded, even though it took Him three weeks to do so!
How could Daniel be patient for so long?
Simply because his faith in God dictated that God would respond!
As it turned out, God had responded immediately: “He said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:12 NRSV), and there was a very good reason for the delay: “He said to me … But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days.” (Vs. 12a, 13a NRSV).
We have to remember that the enemy doesn’t want God to guide us. He WILL oppose God’s guidance! The good news is that God is the victor. He sends in reinforcements: “So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia…” (Daniel 10:13b NRSV)
Is God’s guidance being delayed? Perhaps there is a spiritual battle on the go, one that you know nothing about! Maybe we need to be praying against those spiritual forces! And we most certainly need to wait patiently, ever believing, as Daniel did, that God will come through!
Step 3: Surrender
The next step to hearing God’s guidance is to understand that perhaps it may not be what we are expecting to hear! This was certainly the case the day God told me I would go through breast cancer… My response … Okay Lord, I know I was seeking guidance, but this is NOT what I wanted to hear! And Daniel had a similar response: “I looked up and saw a man … I, Daniel, alone saw the vision; the people who were with me did not see the vision, though a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone to see this great vision. My strength left me, and my complexion grew deathly pale, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words; and when I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a trance, face to the ground.” (Daniel 10:5-8 NRSV)
Interestingly, Daniel wasn’t alone at the time the vision was given, and the vision wasn’t just shown to him. Nonetheless, he was the only one to see it because the others were too afraid and they fled and hid themselves. I admit, I was tempted to do that the day God showed me I would go through cancer… I thank God I had a Daniel response instead of the response of his companions! Nonetheless, there have been times when I have sensed God’s direction, and as it wasn’t a direction I would have thought about, I’ve done what his friends did — followed the example of Jonah, ran and hid. Is it any wonder I didn’t receive the guidance I sought?
In summary, Daniel 10 gives us a four-step guide to seeking God’s guidance. Today we have looked at the first three: Humility, persistence and surrender. We invite you to join us on Saturday for “How to Seek God’s Guidance, Part 2” to learn the final vital step!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Moderator, Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries