Sometimes, I have to retrace well-worn paths to remember the Truth of things.
How do I forget so quickly?
I heap on the shame,
and I entertain the self-accusing voices,
and I cry out to God again:
My Lord, is this really what a walk of faith is supposed to look like? One step forward, and two steps back? Father, do all the others stumble like I do?
I flip open the Bible, because that’s the best place to remember what I’ve forgotten. A wooden cross, three spikes and an empty grave put all things back in their proper order.
I return to the archives here, and I remember that, yes, I have learned a thing or two over all these years. I haven’t completely lost it after all. I retrace past words to find what I knew.
My trouble of late? Hearing God’s voice. Have I gone deaf to His whispers?
A while back, I wrote Laura a letter. Because Laura had trouble hearing, too.
And today, I repost from the archives.
Because sometimes the best way to remember, is to remind yourself of what you already know. … Thank you, friends, for the grace of letting me retrace these steps today.
We stood in a circle of souls linked by hands and hearts. And when we bowed our heads to pray, I heard what you said.
I was on the far side of a circle of thirty-some souls, but I heard you. I really heard you. For I’ve felt those words in my marrow.
You courageously cried out to God, and to us.
Voice shaking, you asked the question: “What does it really mean to hear God’s voice? Because I don’t hear Him speaking to me.”
And in the unspoken places of your voice, I heard this question as well: How come everyone else hears God’s voice, and I hear only painful silence?
We Christians make it seem so easy, don’t we?
We toss around words like: “God spoke to me the other day,” or “I heard God tell me to ….”
And surely, people do hear the voice of God.
But when the deafening silence consumes, we wonder privately: What have I done wrong, that He doesn’t speak to me?
I found one Christian website that inferred that if we aren’t hearing God’s voice, then we must not be listening. The author wrote: “Hearing the voice of God is as natural as hearing your best friend talk to you.”
And then I remember Mother Teresa, who poured out her life as an offering for God. Even Mother Teresa was acquainted with the pain of God’s silence. She once wrote: “I listen and do not hear.”
And then I think of the silence I’ve felt in my own groping.
I’ve never heard Him speak audibly. But I have heard Him speak in other ways, Laura — through His word, and through the Spirit that whispers to my spirit.
Some Christians might tell us it’s natural to hear God’s voice, that it’s as easy as hearing a voice over the telephone. But Laura, at times, I have found it neither natural nor easy to hear His voice. And indeed, I have had times of hearing only this: Silence.
But even when He’s silent, this does not mean He’s absent. (Nor does it necessarily mean that you’re a poor listener!) God will speak when He speaks.
This long-time agnostic-turned-believer has learned to trust Him in the silence. Part of us tries to accept or reject God on the basis of the tangible things. We want a God we can see with our flesh eyes. We demand a God we can hear with our flesh ears. But so much of our faith is based on this upside-down Kingdom of intangibles.
We trust the things we cannot see or hear. If there were no mystery — if there were only tangibles — what would be the point of Faith? How would we be any different than the rest of the world that demands proof in flesh, a world that rejects the idea of Faith in the unseen?
For in faith,
we know that He speaks,
even when we do not hear Him.
we know that He is,
even when we cannot see.
“Then Jesus told them … Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29
Each Wednesday, Ann Voskamp invites her community of writers to consider spiritual practices that draw us nearer to the heart of Jesus. This week, we consider: The Spiritual Practice of Listening and Hearing God.
Also today, I’m guest-posting over at BibleDude’s place,
where we’re talking about what it means to be fully alive, and fully awake.
Photo: Lydia holds a spike, and that puts all things into proper perspective.
Submitted as part of the High Calling Blogs photo prompt.