This May Be Your On-Ramp

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Blog, Gary | 14 comments


(This blog on video is at the bottom of this page)

So often my heart goes to “God, do something – show me what you want me to do, open a door, make a way.” Then there is silence and stillness…seemingly.

Holding on to the truth that God does guide, counsel, provide and create, I wonder if I miss His answers and interventions. After all, God said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go…” (Psalm 32:8) Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:19)

I think God often brings us answers in the form of ideas and opportunities and says, “I heard you…here you go.” Then something transpires in the form of

  • a passing comment,
  • someone sharing the difficulty of their journey,
  • a sudden awareness a problem at work,
  • a memory of something we dreamed of doing or being,
  • an idea that pops into our head.

We can easily dismiss these type of things as the clutter and distractions of our mind or of a needy and broken world rather than the onramp to the road we were asking for.

The next thing that happens as we ask, seek and knock may contain the next thing that’s needed in our journey of discovering, developing and deploying our calling.

We read in 1 Kings 19 that Elijah was in a bad place, even though he experienced God in some amazing ways throughout his life. He was fatigued, fearful and doubting God’s involvement in everything. He was in deep resignation.

Elijah wanted God to take him home. Instead, God took him to the desert, on a brutal forty day hike. God’s first words to Elijah upon his arrival were, “What are you doing here?”

Ok, that seems a little absent-minded or cruel…or was it?

Answering God’s question, Elijah explains his deep disappointment and confusion over the way things had turned out. In response, God said, stand here and watch for Me.

What? Didn’t God hear what Elijah just said? He wanted an explanation, some help or at least some sympathy.

God shows him some amazing effects – rock shattering wind, an earthquake and fire. After this large-screen, 3-D, surround-sound show, God whisper to him. It was God’s whispered words that causes Elijah to cover his face before God in humility and respect.

He asks Elijah once again, “What are you doing here?”

What? Not again. This doesn’t make sense…or does it?

Elijah gives the same response as before, with God answering, “Go back the way you came…” then gives him his next steps.

What? Couldn’t God have simply told Elijah his next steps without a 40-days-x-2 excursion?

Evidently not. Everything about Elijah’s experience was an answer to the cry of his heart. God’s message to Elijah was basically:

  • Watch for me in all things – big or small, obvious or obscure, loud or quiet,
  • You’re not alone,
  • Get back into the game – we are not done yet,
  • It’s never too late,
  • I’ll sustain you – I told you that “this journey is too much for you”, but you made it.

Ok, that’s cool. What seemed so ridiculous and irrelevant was needed, powerful and beautiful. So, as your heart cries out, “God, do something – show me what you want me to do, open a door, make a way”, watch for Him. He may whisper to you through a scripture, a thought, conversation, observation, situation or a reaction of your heart. Stay alert and oriented. Follow God’s leading – big or small, obvious or obscure.

It may be the onramp for the next road you’ve been looking for.


14 Responses to “This May Be Your On-Ramp”

  1. Scott Wilson says:

    Great insight Gary. This is where I am right now. Spending many hours in quite time before The Lord wanting – hoping to hear His voice. This helps me to look or listen in a different way that I have lately.
    Thank you

  2. Lane Buckner says:

    I find that story interesting. God took Elijah back to the origins of the faith. He went to Beersheba, where Abraham sojourned and covenanted with Abimilech. There an angel revived him and equipped him for the remainder of the journey. He sent him to Mount Horeb where Moses encountered I Am.

    Sometimes we have to return to the Grace that first brought us to Him before we can hear His voice.

  3. Sharon Williams says:

    This was a gift for me today. I know that God has been preparing me for my next open door(s) in my professional life and in ministry. I am eager and in a semi-agitated state of anticipation! Your on-ramp metaphor is anointed! Depending on how the on-ramp is engineered, we speed up, slow down or do both in order to enter the highway. Your reminder to stay alert and oriented is always timely. You are blessed, and have a powerful blessing and impartation to give.

  4. A good word Gary. This is just where I am. Except I’m on the long hike – a several year long process of stripping, isolation, and transformation. Good, but ridiculously hard.

    I feel like Elijah toady and am waiting big time for the Lord to act.

    Thank you for that validation…

  5. Jim Mcfarland says:


    You spoke to where I am now.

    I feel like I need the skills of an animal tracker in times past where recognition of each track or bent twig or rub left by an animal told a story.

    I truly believe God is always speaking either in whispers, others words, circumstances, past experiences reinterpreted etc. I have discovered that becoming convinced of this is the first step in improved hearing.

    Just yesterday the verse that jumped out at me was John 8:47. I had to admit there were times in the past and even now when I don’t hear, because I am preoccupied with something else or I dont really want to hear the answer.

    The verse that constantly inspires me though is Luke 11:13. The Holy Spirit is always looking for ways to come alongside on our journey!

  6. Charlton Clarke says:

    Such good stuff Gary. So many times God uses your words to confirm something He is doing in my life. Just yesterday God spoke to me in a thought, and then confirmed the leading in another small way. So often I look for big direction, and rarely get it. This gave me permission to be aware and give weight to the small things. Thanks again for all you do!

  7. Thanks Gary. This is so timely. I also recently listened again to the counseling session I got from you, Sam and John after taking the online It’s Your Call course. Please pray as I move ahead that God shuts tightly the wrong doors and opens wide to the right ones. God… open my heart… transform my heart to see and participate wholly in whatever it is you are doing. I know it is on His strength and in His strength alone. The struggle is only to know Him and trust Him as He invites me to ride on the wind of His Holy Spirit.

  8. Gary, this blessed me a second time this morning! I am watching with great expectations for how God will lead me from this place of deep disappointment. Thank you for undergirding my faith and reminding me of how God speaks.

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