We attribute a lot of life’s failures to bad timing. How do we know when it is the right time? How do we know if this is the year to retire? Is this when we need to relocate? Do I need to quit work and go back to school? Is it time for me to switch jobs? Being worried over not wanting to make the right move at the wrong time has made many of us hesitant to make decisions. The ability to make the right move at the right time is the art of discernment. Discernment is the ability to be able to see the future consequences of a particular course of action.
Nehemiah was a character in scripture who discerned that God was leading him back to rebuild his homeland. He heard that the land was in a horrible condition. Through prayer and fasting he sought God’s direction and it became clear to him that he was to return to his city to rebuild the walls. The work goes well until he gets some resistance from outside forces. Not everyone was happy that the wall around Jerusalem was being rebuilt. One of the instigators went to Nehemiah and encouraged him to go into hiding. Nehemiah responds, “I perceived and saw that God had not sent him at all” (Nehemiah 6:12). Nehemiah knew this was a trap and that he was not supposed to stop working on the wall. But how did he know? We know Nehemiah to be a person who listened to the voice of God.
Discernment is recognizing the voice of God in the midst of the noise. But in order to discern the voice of God we have to be convinced that God is still speaking. In Jeremiah 33:3 God says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” God’s voice is still going forth today. If we are ever going to learn if it is the right time then we are going to have to learn to listen to the voice of God. We listen through prayer
Carve out time in your schedule in this New Year for listening to the voice of God. The right decision in the right time comes by making time for God.