Does God speak?
January 18, 2006
Even within this convoluted "logic," we agree that God speaks to us. Abraham heard God's voice and moved from the Silicone Valley of his day to a place beyond what was familiar to him. My father, raised in a Swedish immigrant family in the Canadian prairies, told me that one day while plowing, he heard a clear and unambiguous voice: "Son, work in my vineyard today."
If someone else had been standing where Abraham or my father were, would they have heard, too? Did my father hear an audible voice or was it an impression, a collection of sayings heard in another place and time? I don't know.
One day in a critical moment in my ministry, at the lowest point of institutional existence, my wife—knowing little of the issues at hand—pointed to a facility that we were driving past and said, "Brian, some day the Lord will give that to you." I felt a chill. As far as I was concerned, the Lord had spoken.
Most times "a word from God" comes from a biblical text, or is carried in a book, saying or prayer. They create impressions that over time are confirmed by other words or events that lead us to say, "I believe the Lord has spoken."
We know the excesses, the disasters and outright manipulation that such assertions can bring. However, that should not keep us from listening. Those he calls to steward resources and to move forward a vision, need to hear his voice.
Wise God and Spirit-Counsellor, at times I'm too clever by half. Surrounded by the commotion of strategic moves and well-devised plans, too often I hear only the voices of those around me. I confess listening has never been my strength. A talker is what I am. Words are my currency. Keep me from configuring my ideas into what I claim are "your words." Give me ears to hear and recognize your voice. And if I don't, bring a priest, an "Eli" into my life so I will know when you speak. Amen.
A popular joke goes like this: