Comedian Lily Tomlin once asked why people who talk to God are said to be “praying”, but those who hear him talk back are called “schizophrenic”. Funny, but perhaps a ring of truth. In the last several briefings we have looked at the various ways God speaks and today is another - though maybe not as obvious - way. Vitally important and yet easily missed, as to origin.
God does indeed still speak … that is the topic at hand. Yes, I certainly believe the canon of Holy Scripture is complete1, but I also believe that God has not lost his voice or his will to communicate with his children.
But I am curious, so I am going to get personal with you for a minute: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~>why do you want to hear God speak to you?
As I write, I picture faces around the world staring at computer monitors, laptops, i-phones and the like, or perhaps listening via podcast … but stop and consider why hearing from God, in such a way that you could understand it was really him, would be important for you. For surely, God does communicate in a still, small voice, through Scripture, through other believers, through dreams and visions, through circumstances—like open and closed doors, and a ‘knowing’ in our innermost beings. And one more thing—by showing us his power and great love for us in answering our prayers, including sometimes prayers we never prayed, but in the ways he wants to bless us and show us his love.
Allow me to elaborate on this last point a moment. I have a friend whose world changed forever with a tragic loss in his immediate family. But somehow in the time since that horrific day, God has shown up in this man’s life. I wish you could see and hear the incredulous expression as he talks about this undeniable reality…maybe the best thing ever this side of heaven.
~When he only knew to cry out his pain to God, God heard . . .
~when he could only utter guttural sobs, God collected all of his tears in a bottle2... I know that because the Bible says it is so—the psalmist wrote, ‘You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.’
~when he did not know how he would sleep, or if he did, how he could get up and possibly put one foot in front of another … well then, God carried him. Doubt me? ‘He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.3 God gently led he who lost his young, and so tenderly.
~when food and the basic necessities of living and working were an afterthought, friends rushed in, friends locked arms with him and held him up. Or perhaps they were angels … when Jesus was in the desert, God sent angels to bear him up, right?4
~ and when nothing could soothe his soul but Jesus, friends gave him Jesus too. Don’t misunderstand, he believed in God before, but more or less kept him on a shelf—a small part of his identity, but by no means, his center or reason for living. Friends who cried with him gave him the only thing they knew could make the difference—a loving Jesus and the closeness of the Holy Spirit within. Close friends shared from their own intimate experiences with God, and invited him to reach for God … he did. They prayed for him, and they prayed with him, over and over, and loved him as best they knew how. Love, God’s way, this side of Heaven..
Reminds me of the woman that Jesus spoke to at the well at midday. Twas a breaking of every social more of the day, that he a Jew would speak to a lowly despised Samaritan – that he would speak to a woman in broad daylight! Oh, and one more thing—this lady was a loose woman, had already had five husbands and was living with another. Jesus talked to her. Dang I love that. Shameful. Unless you were Jesus of course. Jesus came at midday to banish shame to its rightful place—the bottom of the well that he leaned against. In case you are wondering, he is still doing the same thing today.
You know the story from John chapter four, right? The woman did what friends do—they introduce other friends to Jesus. Yup, she ran back to town and said, ‘hey, come and meet the man who told me everything about me … and loved me anyway!’ They came. Power of influence. Funny thing, this loose woman was despised by the townspeople yet influenced those who scorned her enough so that they came … they too met Jesus!5 Love it. Only God.
So wait, what does the great loss of my friend have to do with God speaking? God shouted out his love in a thousand different ways to get his attention. I heard him say once, ‘in every area of my life, things are different … things have changed. There is no other explanation than God.’
Yeah, God speaks – and he does so in a myriad of different ways – but he speaks so that we will open ourselves up to more of him. Thank you, God, that even in heartache, you speak to us through your compassionate presence and through the love of people you put in our lives.
Open up, look around you to the love of God~
I am loved, Mack Brock, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OmYhgvwQa8
Sending you love today,
1 – The Council of Hippo affirmed the Old Testament and our 27 books of the New Testament as authoritative in A.D. 393. The Apocrypha? A compelling article to consider: Roman Catholic and Orthodox Faith Examined and The Apocrypha, http://www.bible.ca/catholic-apocrypha.htm
2 – Psalm 56.8
3 – Isaiah 40.11
4 – Matthew 4.10; Hebrews 13.2
5 – John 4.1-42 – great story