Sometimes we ask God to speak and then we hear something and we’re like “no, God, I need you to speak.” And again, He does, but it’s not what we want to hear, or it’s off topic, or seemingly inconsequential. We want him to play by our rules, stick to the subject, answer the question, don’t interrupt.
Still, he risks our misunderstanding, our demands, our confusion, our years of shrugging indifference, and speaks. Simply. But profoundly. Like through a scripture that’s about something else. So we say “well, that’s out of context.” We say to God that he can’t use his Words as custom-fitted medicinal vernacular in our lives. Or we point our finger at something that disturbs us and say “please do something about that” and he says “well darling, what about you?” And we say “well, I don’t think so.” And he sadly smiles and waits, patient as eternity, silhouettes of Calvary in his eyes.
Or maybe he speaks to us through a Bob Marley song and someone says well, no, that wasn’t God, cuz Bob Marley isn’t a Christian. (I suppose the donkey he spoke through in the Old Testament…was a Christian…and that the sunrise and coral reefs and the Grand Canyon…are followers of Jesus?)
We beg and we beg and perhaps God talks and whispers and sings, with Word and Spirit and wind and owls and trials and tomato plants and reggae and the news and great risk and Eminem and astonishing talent and hard work and architecture. And we insist that we need him to speak. Please. Speak. We say. He says I Am. And I Am that I Am. “Listen.” He says “everything to Me and from Me and through Me…”
We say, “Well, that’s not balanced. Balance is the goal.”
He says quietly. “Dear girl, I Am the goal.” And His voice sounds kind of like wild animals and waterfalls and a barely contained riot of green spring.
Sometimes maybe we scrunch our eyes shut with dread and put our fingers in our ears and shout, “Speak to me please!”
And then, every so often something miraculous happens. There’s an audible voice. Someone comes back to life after being dead. Someone gets healed of cancer. Or you have this special scripture and only you know that’s it’s special to you and then suddenly one day, someone walks up to you and says hey, I read this verse and thought of you, and it’s that very same verse that has so much meaning. How did they know? Well, they didn’t. It’s no coincidence. Or someone says hey I have a prophecy for you and we think “a prophecy? How irrelevant and weird.” and then everything they say is so extremely and specifically accurate that we find ourselves looking over our shoulder for weeks, suddenly and freshly aware of Something.
We like to be floored by supernatural events. And they are special. But maybe one day we will realize that life was more like a research paper than a mind-altering epiphany. That there was this story developing, a plot to analyze, a multicolored dialogue unfolding, one that encompassed senses and time and tragedy and body, mind and spirit. An opportunity to hunt for Him, to study Him, in nooks and crannies and rhythm and sunshine and cells and heat waves and even in the landscape of tricky things like divorce and adultery and abuse and poverty and abandonment. That there was this solid and angular theme woven throughout everything, this saving grace, these dots to simply connect.
Maybe we will realize that seeing and hearing is as simple as open eyes and ears.
And maybe someday we’ll say “I asked you to speak but I couldn’t hear.” And maybe he will smile kindly and there will be whole seasons and temperatures and species and musical instruments and friendships and processes and mentors and countries and works of fiction in that smile, and suddenly we will know what we, like children, sort of hoped for all along.
“Why, You’ve been speaking all the time. To me.”