God Is Still Speaking
When I was a kid I used to wish that God would speak to me in an audible voice. I remember praying really hard that God would just speak out loud to me so I could know for sure that God was there. But all I got was silence.
I'd grown up reading all of those stories in the Bible about how God spoke to people and people spoke right back to God. The Christians in my faith tradition back then would explain away God's silence with simple, glib answers.
"The time for signs and wonders has gone," they would say. "God doesn't speak in an audible voice any more---only in very special occasions and only to really, really holy people."
Or they would say, "If you want to hear God speak, then read your Bible." Or "You can hear God's voice in your heart when you pray." The implication in those kind of statements was, "You'd best get to reading and praying, bucko, because you're obviously not one of the really, really holy people."
So, it took me a bunch of years, but I finally figured out that all of that stuff I was taught was wrong. What I've come to understand is that God is still speaking.
Oh, and God sends me text messages.
And emails from time to time.
There have also been a few moments when strangers have walked up and spoken the words of God to me right to my face.
I got a text message from God this past Sunday morning when I was practicing my sermon. My sermon this past week was about what it means to serve like Jesus. One of the main points of the sermon was how we needed to be serving right in our own backyard. I actually used those words.
I was all alone in the sanctuary of my church, rehearsing my sermon suddenly I got a text. It was from one of my former church members. She texted me a photo of one of the teen moms from the church's neighborhood--a young girl that she was mentoring.
She then went on to thank me in her text for helping my former church learn how to serve---"right in our own backyard."
I felt like my knees were going to buckle. She had used the exact words I was using in my sermon. I felt so strongly in that moment that God was affirming my message, encouraging me to preach it with power.
Can I tell you that kind of thing happens all of the time? I can't believe I ever thought that God doesn't speak to us. God never stops speaking, cajoling, encouraging, exhorting, warning and comforting.
May you have ears to hear the voice of God speaking in your life in all of the various ways that God loves to speak to us. May you be ready to be transformed by your encounter with God, and may God's voice pour over you like grace.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.