How do you know when God ...

Carrie asked:

How do you know when God is talking to you? How do you know when he's wanting you to do something?I feel God wants me to go to Guatemala on a mission trip.For two weeks in the summer.I trust God that he will provide.My parents don't want me to go for a number of reasons. I've prayed and asked and nothing's happening.I can't even go on the trip with my church because I'm not allowed because of the pastor leading it.Please Help Jack...I've been trying to ask a variety of Christians on the subject and some say that I would be good on a mission trip and some say to just pray and others say too wait.I;ve read a bunch of places that when God calls you, it's best to answer. It;s best because he wants to prosper us.I want to obey my parents but alsowant to obey God and my heart.Thanks.Carrie

Jack Answered:

Thanks, Carrie, for sharing a very difficult dilemma with me – a conflict between what you feel the Lord is saying to you and your parents’ decision.

If I could have a private chat with you, I would ask you how you came to the conclusion that God wants you to go to Guatemala. One of the major issues for a Christian to face is how to distinguish between what you would like to do and what you feel God is calling you to do.

In your case, I take very seriously two matters that you mention: " that your parents don’t want you to go for a number of reasons and " there is resistance because of the pastor leading it. (One would think that the pastor’s going would be a positive reason to let you go!)

Some suggestions:

1) As a dependent, it is important to listen carefully to what your parents say. They know you and undoubtedly love you and want the best for you. Try to understand where they are coming from. Do what you can to put yourself in their position. 2) If your parents want you to do something that is clearly against your understanding of Scriptural morals, you can't obey them. You have to "serve God rather than man." However, if it is a matter of timing (you feel it is God's will for you to participate in some event like this mission trip) you may find the Lord telling you to be submissive to them, at least for now. (Note Jesus' example, before he began His public ministry: "He went down to Nazareth with [his parents] and was obedient to them" (Luke 2:49). 3) Trying to discern the Lord’s will always have a subjective element to it. However, the Scripture tells children objectively to obey your parents. As long as you are under their roof and dependent upon them this command has to be taken seriously. In one sense, this is one way of determining the Lord’s will in this situation. 4) Having said the above, however, I need to add that the time may come after an appropriate interval of time when you feel you need to go off on your own if your parents won't allow you to do what you feel the Lord is calling you to. Jesus did say that we are to love Him more than family. But I wouldn't take this step without the counsel and support of several mature Christian friends, and I am not referring to the mission trip to Guatemala!

Your situation is a painful one. Put all the details before the Lord, and as you wait patiently I think He will speak to you, comfort you, and perhaps in a surprise move open another door for you.


"If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him" (James 1:5)


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