An excerpt from Listening to God by Clarence Snayers
Leaves, trees and seasons
One Autumn I found myself standing among some big, wind-blown trees. I saw how the dry leaves were falling and the thought that came rushing to my mind was, ‘Imagine the leaves resisting the process of shedding’.
I was struck at that moment that, just as nature experiences change and transition through the seasons from Winter to Summer, so do we, and a Scripture came to mind:
‘As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’ (Gen 8:22 NIV).
God speaks through a dream
Back in 1989, as a young married graduate, I started my first full-time employment and my life as father to a beautiful, energetic son. Those first few years, having to balance the work-life challenges and remain a loving, caring husband, were a jumble of all four seasons – Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring. I felt so inexperienced, so overwhelmed at times, as I tried to make sense of the things happening inside me, as well as those around me. It was like being on a ship in a stormy night, facing rough seas and heavy winds, feeling as if the ship could sink at any time. There were times when I wished that the night would pass quickly so that the next day would bring sun and happiness.
Then towards the end of my second year of employment and fatherhood, I was booked off sick to recover from surgery – my wisdom teeth had been removed. Having to sip on liquids and nibble soft foods, the days at home were rather long. One night the Lord spoke to me in a dream concerning my work. He told me that I should develop a new work-flow system for the company and then woke me up and gave me pages of detailed information to record. When I finally stopped writing I paused and looked at my notes. I was astonished at what I had written and the incredible amount of detail. On my return to work, I discussed the idea of the new system and its benefits with my boss. He liked the idea and gave me two months to have the system ready as a prototype. I completed the system on time, it worked well and was implemented. This was the turning point in my Winter season, Summer was on its way.
The new system was so successful that my boss not only gave me an increase but also a promotion. I realised in this phase how easy it is to forget that God’s timing is nothing like what we can imagine – ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time’ (Eccles 3:11 ESV). Even if we do not think that things are going beautifully, God knows what the ‘big picture’ looks like. He sees more than we do, knows more than we do and will reveal things to us when it is the right time.
God speaks in many ways – we just need to listen
Having been through the different seasons of my life, I have learnt how important it is to hear God’s voice and to spend quality time in His presence. Through different seasons I have come to know that God’s love remains the same. He never abandons us, whatever the season. If I look back at these seasons, I can clearly see how God has spoken into my life, through Scriptures, through dreams that resulted in promotions; to teaching me the importance of a quiet time and even when preserving my life and giving me another new beginning. I can understand why David in Psalm 23 can say that ‘The Lord is my shepherd’. He is! The Lord will guide you, He will protect you through difficult seasons, He will refresh your soul, if you allow Him, and take the time to listen to His voice. I believe that if we practise hearing God’s voice we can endure any season.
Read Clarence’s full story in Listening to God, available on Amazon Kindle or from our church reception for just R150!
What others are saying about Listening to God:
“This book ministered very deeply in my spirit and sparked joy, hope and peace that God meets us where we are.” –Natalie Emmanuelle
“The multiple true stories inspire me to listen for God’s voice with anticipation, for if God uses these people through their obedience to His voice, there is no reason God won’t use me too.” –Sandi Langston, Canada