Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Deep, Quiet Assurance: Knowing God’s Leading

by Danetta Kellar

Behind every life-changing, heart-gripping event, there is a story beneath the story. 

It is sometimes never told, at least to the crowds.

Rachel Saint, missionary to the jungle peoples of Ecuador, gave us a great gift when she shared the story beneath the story of the martyrdom of her brother Nate Saint along with four other missionaries on January 8, 1956. We learn from her the events that captured the world’s attention and inspired countless missionaries since really began in the place of prayer, in the private, quiet place of a young, single woman seeking the Lord’s leading for her life. 
No one could have imagined the journey that would arise from her time of stillness and prayer. Years before that fateful afternoon along the jungle river, Rachel wrote in her journal, …a quiet, deep assurance settled on me. The Aucas are those who have “never heard”. I know that one day I will go to live among them to share God’s love. (From The Dayuma Story by Ethel Wallace)

She did not know how God would bring this seemingly impossible goal about. But she knew that she knew it was God’s leading in her life. 

Others thought this impossible. It had never been done with success before. The Waodani, or the Aucas, were one of the most violent known people groups on earth, famous for spearing all who threatened their territory. And that is indeed what they did to Rachel’s brother and his colleagues on that terrible day in 1956. 

Had Rachel seen the future, the cost to her personally, fear may have choked her resolve. Or maybe not.

She knew a secret to guidance, a secret to following God. Rachel understood the necessity of getting alone with God, seeking Him in prayer, meditating upon His Word, and waiting for that “quiet, deep assurance.”

Because she had disciplined her soul to find God’s will in that way, Rachel’s quiet, deep assurance never left her even in the face of tragedy. Two years after the death of her brother and his fellow missionaries, she and Elisabeth Elliot were invited to live with the Waodani because of a friendship between Rachel and a young Waodani girl. 

This girl, Dayuma, happened to be from the same family as one of the men who speared Rachel’s brother. Dayuma was faced with the agony of regret and the possibility of forgiveness for the first time in her life. She became the first Christian among the tribe. The power of forgiveness washed over that tribe and many others followed Dayuma’s faith in Christ. The Waodani people were transformed by God’s love.

The quiet, deep assurance Rachel spoke of is a hallmark of the leading of God. Entire people groups have been changed by it. Generations have been redirected. Lives have been eternally transformed.

In today’s world of 2016, does anyone stop in the quietness long enough to seek God for that deep assurance of His leading? 

To do so is certainly a challenge in this noisy world. But it is from the quiet place of deep assurance that we go forth with confidence to see the world changed by God’s redeeming power. This is the place where we learn His will for our lives.

Thomas A`Kempis said, 

“Often I am wearied by all I read and hear. In You alone is all that I desire and long for. Therefore let all teachers keep silence, and let all creation be still before You; do You, O Lord, speak alone.”

To know God’s leading, we must seek Him.

To hear His voice, we must set aside quiet, uninterrupted time to listen.

There is a time to silence all other voices, be they teachers or counselors, and get alone with God and His inspired Word, the Bible.

This is a discipline that we must intentionally pursue. We must make it happen, it will not just happen to us. It is surprisingly difficult to do, though so simple and profound.

I find that when I set aside time to be with God alone in a quiet place, I am restless and a bit fidgety. My body, my mind, my thoughts, are not used to focusing so intently, to listening for God. I am not comfortable being still. It takes time and practice to quieten myself and fix my heart upon Him. 

  • Opening the Bible to the Psalms and Proverbs is a helpful starting place. Reading aloud from these two wonderful books sets my heart upon His thoughts.

  • I always have a pen and paper handy. I write down any verse that jumps out at me, any thought that is pronounced in my mind. 

  • Any concern, and shadow of anxiety that clouds my mind during this time, I bring it before Him in prayer. He knows the root of all my anxiety, and He shepherds me to a place of stillness.

  • I meditate on His Word and let it sink deep into my soul. I think on it as I go about my daily work. I keep my heart open in the inner place to hearing His leading. It is possible to retreat to an inner place with Christ in our hearts even among a noisy crowd.

Our God has much to say to us. 

He knows the plans He has for us, plans to give us hope, and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). He is waiting for us to set aside time to listen.

A deep, quiet assurance… this is what I long for in the decisions I face today. I will intentionally pursue time for listening before my God until I know that assurance in whatever I face right now. 

I stubbornly refuse to make any life-directing decision without first knowing His quiet, deep assurance. Will He be delayed by my waiting? Will I, by waiting for Him, delay His will in my life? I think not. Rather, I believe I will attain the rock-solid confidence I need to continue in His will in the coming days when pressures would have otherwise made me faint with doubt.  

Won’t you join me? Let’s make a commitment today to set aside intentional time to listen in the stillness for God’s leading in our lives. 


To read more about the story of the Waodani, see these resources:

Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot
End of the Spear (2005), film
The Dayuma Story, by Ethel Wallace


  1. I love this post Danetta. Such an important message in this busy time. Thanks for taking the time to write so beautifully and powerfully. I'm with you!

    1. Thank you for reading. I wrote this out of my own struggle and longing to take that time needed to find His deep assurance. We are all journeying in this together.

  2. I love this post Danetta. Such an important message in this busy time. Thanks for taking the time to write so beautifully and powerfully. I'm with you!

  3. Thank you for taking the time to comment and encourage, Tarah.