Late one weekday evening, almost everyone I knew found themselves at the same viewing before a very hard funeral. The line stretched outside. As I approached the dearly departed, I felt an all-too-familiar nudge. It’s something different every time, but this time the nudge said:
“Tell that man that this is his chance to be a spiritual leader for his family.”
The nudge and I go back a long ways, so we have a rather formulaic dialogue by now:
Me: “And who’s going to make me tell him that?”
Nudge: “I Am.”
Me: “You and what army?”
Nudge: “Will the Heavenly Hosts suffice?”
Me: “Oh, that army. Sir, yes, sir!”
It was a little awkward (as it almost always is), but I did it!
Three Strike Rule
While that exchange may be a little stylized, it highlights my 3 strike rule for whenever God speaks through the nudge. If I think God wants me to do something a little crazy (or just plain uncomfortable), I have to say yes if I hear the same thing 3 times. That means I can only ask, “Really, God?” twice after the initial nudge before I have to say, “OK!”
Moses…Is Five Strikes Too Much To Ask?
I picked three strikes basically at random, but Moses demonstrates that there is an upper limit on how many times you can ask God if he really meant what he said to you. Here are some selections from Exodus 3 and 4:
Exodus 3:4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
Exodus 3:11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
Exodus 3:13 But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”
Exodus 4:1 But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?”
Exodus 4:10 But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
Exodus 4:13 But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”
Exodus 4:14 Then the Lord became angry with Moses.
Moses starts off well. He recognizes the nudge and says, “Here I am!” But enthusiasm that God is speaking to him quickly becomes protesting and pleading. Five times. And after the fifth time, when Moses really has no more excuses but is just asking to be let off the hook…God becomes angry with Moses.
I figure if Moses gets 5 strikes, surely I can get 3, right? And by my logic if Moses only got 5 strikes, I probably shouldn’t test if I get that many. So 3 is a pretty good number. For another example of this, see the scripture about Samuel in my summary at the top of the page. Samuel had to hear God multiple times, too.
- God is quite active in nudging his followers to do his work. I have countless stories on this one, and I know other people get the nudge, too.
- It’s OK to question if what you’re hearing is from God…to a point
- Set a limit on the maximum number of times you can question whether God really wants you to do something. My limit is 3.
- Once you hit your limit, just do it! I’ve never regretted it! Conversely, I have regretted every time I chickened out.
- When have you felt the nudge that God wanted you to do something? How did you respond?
- Has anyone ever spoken to you or done something for you because they were nudged by God? How did that feel?
- How can you make yourself more open to feeling the nudge?