11 April 2013

Will You Hear Him?

So, I started a conversation on Facebook this morning.  It was really a response to another person's post about God allowing bad things in our lives.  I take exception with that and wanted to voice that exception. I hesitated to do so on the original post because I do not have a desire to be inflammatory. I do however, like for people to think about what they are saying and what provokes them to say it. So I made my own post. And indeed, people are thinking. That's all I wanted.

God is so good. He will use a myriad of ways to speak to us. He so longs for our fellowship that He will go to great lengths to get our attention. Over the years, I have heard His voice in my heart and I have heard His voice in my ear. I have heard Him speak in a sermon and I have heard Him speak in a song. I have listened to Him verbalize in the sunshine and by the waters edge . The voice of a friend, and the voice of a stranger can carry the sound of His words into my life. The song of child, the song of a bird, even an occasional post on Facebook will resound in my spirit as He speaks likes the breeze on an early morning in spring.

The question is not, "Does God speak?", but rather, "Will you hear Him when He does?"

Once, in my early adult life, my dad and I were having a rather intense conversation.  My mom was uncomfortable with the liveliness and intervened. My dad and I looked at each other with a smile. Neither of us were upset, as she had perceived, we were simply enjoying the warmth of the fire - no one getting burned. Sometimes, it is good to get stirred in our emotions, to be required to think about what we believe and why we believe it. In the end of our conversation, my dad and I were in total agreement. More importantly, we both knew why we believed what we believed. We both walked away from that heated chat with a new perspective on the subject. Unchanged in our belief. Knowing with more assurance why we believed what we believed. 

It can be that way when the Lord wants to speak to us on a topic. We can read a passage of scripture many times and be sure of what He is saying. Then along comes someone with a different view of the same passage. It is easy to find ourselves arguing with them before listening to them. But if we will listen, we may well find that it is not that they have a new doctrine, but rather a deeper revelation on the same doctrine. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by him. That doesn't mean that He takes you and I on the same path to the Father. It means if we stick with Him, we will get to the Father. After all, how could your path and my path be the same? I met Jesus somewhere in Kansas, when I was eight. Now I am older, somewhere in Missouri and came by way of a few land mines and refreshing rivers. You met him where? When? and you have come to this place via what?

Our experiences help, and yes, sometimes hinder, our ability to comprehend the goodness of our God. I know people who have been through some of the same experiences in life as I have, but they have handled them very differently. The consequences of my choices in the handling have often been painful and in the moment seemed to create more havoc. But I knew without doubt, that I heard the heart of the Father on the subject. In the long term, the results of my choices are revealing delight that others will never know. From this place, of having heard His voice and responding to it, even in the hard thing, I can say to you, "You too, can do the hard thing. And it will be worth it in the end."

Many times, in the early days, of the most horrific trial of my life, I would hear the words, "How are you?" My response would routinely be, "Good." And the loving voice of concern would cup my chin, tilt my face, and say, "Really?" I would look into those eyes that so often kept me safe in the storms and say, "There is no other option." You see, I knew that my God had me, even in the darkest night, for even the dark is light to Him. 

That's not to say I never had a "meltdown". I did. Precious few, but I did. Even the meltdowns brought me into direct contact with truth. I had to have the answers others told me I just could not know. I had to have the answers when others said I would have to accept the mystery. I found that when I sought the Lord, with my whole heart, I found Him. His words were not often what my tender heart wanted to hear, but they were the words of life and there was no where else to go. 

When the "Why's" brought me face to face with the choices I had made, grief wanted to drown me, but He drew me out of many waters. When the enemy was strong against me in the days of my calamity, the Lord was my stay. He brought me out into a large place, He delivered me, because He delighted in me. 

Today, He makes my feet like hinds feet. It's been many years since the first rumblings of calamity, but not so long ago I had a meltdown. Everything in me wanted someone to just hold me and tell me it was gonna be alright. But God, in His goodness, gave me the truth that He knew I would need to sustain me in the days ahead. The road is not always easy, it is narrow, with a wall on one side and cliff on the other. The higher the height, the more narrow the way. Every now and again there is a cleft in the rock. He leads me in and we sit a while. He puts His arm around me and comforts me. I drink from the fountain and savor the bread. When we step out again, into the brightness of the light, or the darkness of the night, He is with me - leading me - with the sound of His voice. 

Indeed He speaks, and His voice is like the sound of many waters, will you hear Him? Or will you mistake His message for the roar of the waves?

With His Heart,

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