After a time of quiet, they gently told Samuel their sense that he was probably more influenced by his love for his friend Isaac than by the Holy Spirit. They did not, however, forbid him to preach; they simply advised him to wait, for if his concern were truly from God, it would grow stronger; if not, it would decrease. And so it proved; the concern gradually went away, and Samuel and Isaac were both much wiser ministers and more kindly spiritual guides because they themselves had been treated with such tenderness. (xxxii)As we discussed this story, QB raised the question of whether this would happen now. We both felt like it probably would not. QB suggested that we don't know each other well enough in our spiritual communities to be able to know whether what one person believes to be a leading is truly from God.
Over the past few months, the group that started out as my clearness committee has agreed to be an ongoing support and accountability committee for me. Last week, I met with the three women from three generations who are now on the committee and I am again having a hard time finding the words to express my gratitude.
This meeting reminded me of the best parts of Quaker process. We worshiped together and listened and asked questions and tried to answer some. We also talked about how for Friends, feeling like God is telling you to do something is the first step, but it is crucial to test that leading in the community to see if others agree that the leading is truly from God. If Friends have that kind of support and accountability from our communities, we can then go forth to do God's work in the world with joy.