Saturday, September 16, 2006

Is that God talking?

Hearing God's voice is supposed to be for special people, holy people. So if we assert that we can hear from God, people who don't think they're good enough to often feel put down, and resent this claim.

But this is all just religious garbage. Being one of the special people God wants to talk to is not how we hear from God . He clearly wants to talk to anyone at all who even sort of wants to hear. Why else are we told to proclaim his word to every creature? Why else does James write that he gives his wisdom to all men generously without reproaching them? Why does John write in his gospel that he enlightens every man that comes into the world? Again the proverb says rightly that wisdom shouts in the public square and at the head of every street.

It's pretty obvious really. At least in others, we far more often see people shutting their ears than we see wisdom shutting her mouth!

God doesn't talk to us in the way best designed to make us feel spiritual. The idea is to give us the real deal with as little spiritual gas as possible. I learned about that in this way.

I woke up bright and early one January morning in Connecticut, and that's an unusual morning demeanor for me right there. What's more, when I thought of stepping down the hill to thumb a ride to work as usual, I felt that God wanted me to take the train instead. So I pranced up the hill to the train station feeling great, and sure enough, when I arrived, the train had just pulled in. Perfect timing.

So I started to cross the street, and right then, a bird crapped on my head. Well, I ran across the street, but what was I going to do? I couldn't see spending 45 minutes on the hot train baking that bird dropping into my head - too much like a bad hair day at work! So I had to get it out of there, and there was a little washroom on the platform.

I ran in there, flung the tap on and furiously scrubbed away in the freezing cold, spun around to hop on the train, and the door slammed in my face.

The train chugged away, and there I was.

I didn't get it, but I had to go to work, so I walked over to Park Street and stuck out my thumb. The third car stopped, and it was a former coworker who needed to talk to me, so I understood that it was from the Lord, but I was not happy.

I spoke to the Lord. I said, "Look, I see that you did this to hook me up with her this morning. But I heard you fine when you told me to take the train, so why didn't you just tell me to stick out my thumb? Why did you have a bird shit on my head?"

I wasn't happy.

But then I considered: the bird poop got me where I needed to be just as well as what I had in mind, but better - it didn't feed my conceit. Being anointed with bird poop just doesn't puff you up. So like the boy named Sue, I came away with a different point of view. The humblest way to hear is best. God is still talking, and his word still gives life. Only the religious gas and conceit is missing.

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