Sometimes God speaks to my heart in the strangest of ways. What I mean, actually, is that it might seem strange to others but it is very real and normal for me to hear God speaking to me through a word picture, a verse, and- in the case of this morning- in French. I only had a couple years of French in High School, along with classes in Spanish. Then in college I took one more year of French, bumbled around with it, and left that language behind to go further with Spanish.
But certain French phrases remained with me. One of them was spoken to me this morning. By God. Quietly. I suddenly remembered my French, and more than that, I got the gist of what God was saying to me as several different Scriptures came to my mind right after God whispered to my heart, Regardez-vous. It brought to mind my French professor, at the blackboard, about to write a new phrase for us to learn or a new vocabulary word. You would sit up and take notice when he said, Regardez-vous!
"Look! Watch!" God was saying to my heart.What did God want me to watch for? Things have been rather slow and dull in my life. Bill and I were talking about this, this morning, about the areas of our life that we felt were a bit stagnant and flat. We want to pursue God into fruitful labor but we weren't sure if we were seeing the picture correctly, or even seeing ourselves correctly.
Several things came to my mind about the word Regard. "To regard someone highly" means that you would notice someone; you would see all their outstanding qualities when you regarded them, such as in Phil. 2:29 when Paul admonishes them to hold Epaphroditus " in high regard". Proverbs 13:18 tells us not to ignore correction but that "he who regards a rebuke will be honored." Then there's that beautiful verse, Psalm 138:6, "Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar."
You can't regard something till you first notice it. I think when we've been waiting for God to move in our life in a new way, when we wait a long time for something to start or something to take off, we can grow weary and relaxed in our sense of anticipation. Soon we don't notice anything God is doing- or we don't credit Him with what He is doing in our life- because we've forgotten to regard His faithfulness to us. We're convincedthat if God is going to move in our life, He is going to do it sloooowly because that's His preferred mode of operation! We believe that- because it seems to be the case. The reality is- we are in need of God moving at a gentle, slow speed. We are not at all ready for a big move of God, a sudden surprise. We think we are- but we're not.
Last night, on the T.V. Show, American Idol, one of the judges spoke about the contestants not being ready at all for the sudden fame and stardom that their lives would experience. It was intimated that these young people couldn't possibly know how to prepare for it because they had never really experienced anything close to the powerful swell of popularity and fame that was coming their way. Each week that this show goes on is another week for the contestants to get used to the camera, the voting, the fickle nature of the audience, the roar of the crowd. It's good that this happens slowly.
Now, you and I are not on this show (unless you happen to be one of the American Idol contestants reading this, and if so, get back to your voice lessons. You've got work to do!). Our slow stride to fruitfulness and productivity is probably out of the spotlight of notoriety. Nevertheless, we all want to make progress. We all want to be fruitful and flourishing.
God hears me ask, Can we make this process go a little bit faster? He smiles His answer and tells me to Watch Him, then. Notice Him . See Him at work in my life. God is telling me to get my eyes off of all the supposed indicators of my progress and put my attention directly on Him. Regardez vous!
Every time we regard highly the work of God in our life- in whatever area of our life we see it- we honor Him and identify Him as the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Every time I notice the hand of God, the touch of God, in my life or in your life, I call attention to Him, and give Him the credit due His Name. I demonstrate that I am watching carefully for His coming, His touch, His work in my life, in this world.
It behooves me to return to class with a sense of anticipation. Yes, I have learned many lessons already. But every day there is another important lesson the Teacher has for me. I show Him that I believe this is true- and that great things are about to happen- because I am all ears, my eyes on Him, my heart racing in anticipation.
Regardez-vous! To everyone who responds to His call for our attention, there is a reward: we get to see the God of Heaven move mountains here on earth. We move those mountains with Him. At the sound of His voice. "At the impulse of thy love". Whenever He tells us to take a step forward. Because we are watching Him intently.