Jill's Story

  • June 24, 2011
  • #7605

Joni shares how Jill’s work situation changed after she was obedient to the nudging of the Lord.

It’s a wonderful thing when you hear God whisper!

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and if you’re like me, you’ve learned not to ignore those whispers, those nudging, those promptings from the Lord, right? Take the story of Jill. She’s a behavioral therapist who specializes in working with autistic children. But not long ago, Jill found herself with only about 20 hours of work a week. Finances were tough and she really needed to find more work. Wisely, she began to seek the Lord, and asked Him for more hours. But as she prayed, Jill kept hearing the Lord whisper, “Volunteer.” Well, that wasn’t going to pay the bills, so she prayed some more. Again Jill heard that simple word “volunteer.” She honestly responded out loud with, “God, have you lost your mind? I don’t have enough gas to even get back and forth to work. How am I supposed to be able to drive somewhere to volunteer?” And as God does so often, He merely kept nudging her, kept whispering, “Volunteer.” 

Reluctantly, she obeyed. She decided the best place to volunteer would be at her own church – it was a very large church and she asked to volunteer as a Sunday school teacher for children with autism. Well, with her credentials, she was welcomed with open arms. Shortly after that, her employer -- the therapy group that she worked with -- let her know that they had a new client for her. When Jill went to meet them, she immediately fell in love with the parents and their little boy with autism. As they talked, the parents shared that they needed her help on Sundays. That’s when Jill’s heart sank. Sadly, she explained that she could not help them, because of her commitment to volunteer church. That certainly fascinated the parents because they explained that their need was for someone to help them on Sunday so that they could go to church. When Jill asked where they attended, it was the same church where she volunteered. These godly parents wanted someone to take their autistic child to the very Sunday school class that she was helping in. In other words, they wanted to pay her to do what she had volunteered to do.

God sometimes speaks to us in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Remember in the book of I Kings the story of Elijah hearing the voice of the Lord in a gentle wind. It’s easy to second-guess God when He speaks to us in a still small voice. But like the young boy Samuel in the Bible, we must learn to respond with, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Nothing comes into our lives without God Himself speaking into the situation. So this week, if you sense God is prompting to do something and you find yourself second-guessing, not sure which way to turn, practice saying out loud, “Speak Lord you servant is listening.” Because when you ask for God's guidance, He’ll answer – maybe not with a shout, but like in Sarah’s case, a gentle whisper. Jesus says, “My sheep know my voice,” so listen up when the gentle wind of the Spirit touches your ear. 

And who knows? Maybe my words today will touch you like a gentle wind, encouraging you to “volunteer” as Jill did. Because summer is upon us and, yes, we’re still in need of volunteers at several of our Family Retreats. Want to see what it’s all about? Well, I’ve posted a great video of our Family Retreats on our radio page at joniandfriends.org. It’s five days of hands-down, slam-dunk, fun and fellowship, and you are needed. So should the Spirit nudge you, should you sense a prompting, say, “Speak Lord, thy servant is listening.” Then just sign up on our Family Retreat page at joniandfriends.org. Jill would thank you!

Until next time, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and you are listening to Joni and Friends.

© Joni and Friends

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