Written By Josh Linton
Lately I’ve struggled with decision…okay, for those who know me, I seem to always struggle with decision. Honestly, the voices in my head make it difficult to discern which one is his. Conversations about what to do rage into the night and early morning as I twist in confusion over each argument. Waking late into the day with hollow, dark eyes usually makes me even more disoriented. It’s as though the light of the sun actually sheds light on the conversations draped in shadow. Hence more forehead-slapping bafflement.
Discerning God’s will hasn’t always proved an enlightening experience for me. Why won’t he just appear in a dream and say what he wants me to do? I’d endure wetting my pants at the sight of an angel just to know what God would like for me to do. My exasperation says bring it on. Come vision. Come dream. Come terrifying angel wielding flaming sword!
Paul’s experience makes me wonder, though, if it would be any easier if it actually happened. In Acts 16 when he experienced a call through a vision it appears that he still took it to the group for a chat. Listen to this statement by Luke: “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (v. 10). It seems clear enough that Paul took the vision to them, discussed it and the “we” concluded it appropriate to head out for Macedonia. Though a vision for himself, Paul shared it with his traveling companions.
My impulsive, individualism wants to disagree. If you get a vision from God who cares what anyone else has to say. But Paul did. His example reaffirms the seriousness God places on a collective discernment of his will. Together we discover his mission, together we trace his lead, together we wrestle with individually placed calls from God. Even after Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus he went and spent some time with Ananias to figure out his next moves. Should isolated, personal calls from God open up for critique to others called-out? Apparently Paul thought so. And his willingness to embrace this vulnerability goes against the individualistic propensity to stand alone, to go rogue as a disciple. And at times that certainly may be necessary but never within an atmosphere where a collective discernment of God’s will is devalued.
Lone pilgrim disciples conceive their journeys in dreams and birth them in interactive dialogue even if ultimately the discernment they uncover through such an exercise leads them against the community’s consensus. So dream. Seek God’s voice. Just make sure to talk about it.
I’m Josh Linton, husband to Ashley and father to Jarret, Avery and Jaxon. To tell the truth, we’re a tad crazy. We don’t like yelling around the house so when somebody yells we yell at them to stop. Each of us is burdened with intense passion and sometimes this causes a scene at Wal-Mart or in the driveway before school. But overall we love each other just as loud and have plenty of crazy, intense love to share with our friends.I try to find and join God in life but struggle with my own desires and ambitions throwing me off focus. I write, sometimes, too. Currently, I’m in transition so if I told you where I live I’d have to tell you again soon. So, let’s save that for later.