A Word from The Lord
When I was a kid I used to wish that God would speak to me like God spoke to all of those people in the Bible I would read about.
The Bible would say things like:
"The word of the Lord came to Moses..."
"God spoke to Abraham, and said..."
"And God said to Job..."
The list of people in the Bible who heard God speak to them is fairly extensive. Which made me wonder why God had stopped talking to people. Because I always assumed that when God spoke to these people it was in an audible voice.
I was told by the people in my faith community that God no longer did those kinds of things because the time of "signs and wonders" had passed, and we were kind of stuck relying on faith... or the Bible... or some preacher who pontificated about what was right and wrong.
But then I would hear all of these people say things like:
"The Lord told me..."
"God said to me..."
"God just spoke to me, and..."
Which made me wonder, "Who the heck are they hearing?" Maybe you've had friends or family say something like that, too. And maybe it's always bothered you when they did.
The short answer in these cases of course is almost always that the voice they heard was their own... echoing their own thoughts, desires, will, plans, etc.
I can't tell you how many times I've had these conversations with people where they will say they had a word from the Lord, and then followed it up with something like this:
"I just felt that God wanted us to buy this house..."
"I prayed about it and I heard God tell me that I needed to quit my job..."
"God would want me to be happy, and this new car makes me happy..."
So, you'll have to excuse me a bit if I'm a bit skeptical when I hear people talk about hearing a word from the Lord... or that God spoke to them... I'm willing to wager there's more than a few of us out there who feel the same way.
But I have to say---there have been moments when I heard something.
Sometimes it's felt like a voice in my head. Other times it's been a burning desire in my heart that I can't quench. It's come in sure and certain knowledge that felt as if I'd known it all along. And there have been signs and wonders, unexplainable events, things too crazy to be coincidence.
I read this quote the other day from theologian and author Henry Drummond, and I was so struck by it I wrote it down to think about it:
When God speaks he speaks so loudly that all of the voices of the world seem dumb. And yet when God speaks he speaks so softly that no one hears the whisper but yourself.As I thought about it, I started thinking about where God might be speaking in the midst of this global pandemic.
I think God is speaking loudly about a lot of things right now.
The forgotten blue skies over Los Angeles and Shanghai and Mumbai that have appeared since the smog and pollution have been cut down to nothing speaks pretty loudly, don't you think?
There are countless stories circulating of how nations are cooperating with one another, finding common ground, working together to share information and to find a way unified way forward through this.
We are becoming more aware of the disparity between those who have a safety net and those who have none. We are discovering a newfound respect and admiration for laborers, servers, grocery store workers, and of course all those on the front lines of the health crisis---doctors, nurses, EMT's...
And those of us with kids at home are realizing anew that our teachers are vastly underpaid.
I also believe that God is speaking softly to each of us. I've been hearing from friends and church members about how they are discovering new things about themselves because they have had to confront their fears, trust God more, and learn how to rest, to be and to wait.
God is still speaking. And maybe God has always spoken this way. Maybe those people of old did the best they could to explain why they knew they were hearing from God.
But God is still speaking. We just need to be open enough to listen.
May you have ears to hear today and every day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.