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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Talking with God.

You talk to God, you're religious. God talks to you, you're psychotic.
Doris Egan, House M.D., House vs. God, 2006

I like to talk. Ask my friends. I like the to~ing & fro~ing, the exchange of ideas. I like witty conversations, repartee & acute observations.

Conversation is a two way street so for years prayer was hugely frustrating. It was like talking to myself & that was terribly boring. I'm just not that interesting & I always knew beforehand what I was going to say. It took me years to learn that if I would just shut up for a moment God would talk back.

God has a problem with me. I'm not a good listener. I struggle to stay focused & pay attention. I'm time deprived & time deprivation means my prayer times tend to be rushed. This is not good news. I have learnt if I want God to really speak to me I need to shut up, focus & listen & that takes time. It takes time to divest myself of the worries & frustrations of the day. It takes time to get myself out of the way so I can hear God.

However I did always expect to be answered, one way or another, sooner or later. I remember telling God shortly after Liddy was born that she needed a sister. [I'm pretty sure Liddy's not with me on this one because she got Ditz & she rather fancied being an only child. Yeah, I know, go figure!] Six years I waited for an answer on that one. Sarah waited longer, & Hannah. They must have been patient women because I can assure you watching Liddy get older every year & more & more like a Queen Bee did absolutely zilch for my patience.

If I talk about answers to prayer like this I don't get too many raised eyebrows. God likes to give us the desires of our hearts when they line up with His desires for us. Besides He knew I was going to have a soccer fiend & a singing aficionado; I couldn't run both of them everywhere at the same time hence the gap.

When my father died I was whirled in a frenzy between the hospital, my home & my mother's house. There were hordes of people & the memorial service to deal with & when crisis hits I go to bed & sleep. Seriously. Sad I know. I finally got home & opened up my bible randomly. My eyes fell on these verses from Psalm 68. Father of the fatherless & protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. You'd have trouble convincing me that wasn't a timely word from God but plenty of people have had God speak to them from His word.

The trouble is we actually don't expect to be literally answered. Now if you are ultra conservative you may find this next part a little difficult to deal with so be warned. Our little island church uses lay preachers because we often don't have an ordained man of the cloth. That's just the way it is & as a competent speaker [see, there's a reason I was made talking so much] I would give the occasional message. I can assure you that this is so fraught making & so prone to spiritual attacks that only madmen would take it on. So much so that I would literally rant at God from beginning to end. Yes, we have that sort of a relationship. I figure I'm in good company. There was David & Job & Jacob. Firstly it would be about what God wanted talked about & when we got that sorted out I would start fretting about the logistics. The thing was, every time I reached the end of my tether, every time I couldn't figure out which way to turn, every time I got stuck theologically, God spoke. Got spoke literally not figuratively. I heard His voice.

Yep, it raises eyebrows. Obviously I'm mad. But why are people so surprised? We say we believe in God. We believe he is real. Real people talk. They even talk back when addressed. Now I can assure you, sitting in front of a blank computer screen ranting that Christmas has been done to death & what on earth is there left to talk about I was not expecting to be answered. I certainly did not expect to hear what I did. I can work my way into an internal tizz faster than anyone I know so I was fizzing away plenty when God spoke. 'Like this, Dear Heart.' No~one but no~one calls me Dear Heart! Seriously we are not the sentimental sort. And the message? It was on repentance.

One thing I know for sure is it is an awful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Awful, full of awe. I have never felt so loved, so accepted. There are no words in the English language to adequately describe a conversation with God. Oh, I can describe the experience but that does in no way convey the experience. I know now how badly I want to go home. I know how far man has fallen from Grace. I know what Paul meant when he said no eye has seen nor ear heard nor the heart of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

I listen more carefully these days. I pay more attention. I have tasted of the Lord & He is good. Always. Advent; the time before God spoke His son. What is He saying to you this year?


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Wow, a talk with God.

I'm afraid if I REALLY HEARD from God, He would ask something difficult or impossible.

Though I can feel convicted or something.. or know untruth sometimes when I hear it... I'm guessing that's hearing from God, too, but not as potently and directly.

Ganeida said...

There are lots of ways to hear from God. I guess my point was more why are some ways of hearing more acceptable than others? i do get some odd looks but Samuel heard God's voice, as did Moses & Paul. I reckon it was the love in Gods voice when he asked Paul why he was persecuting Him that convicted Paul. I don't think anyone could stand against that love. Besides, getting my attention can be a little difficult when I'm in meltdown. God does really well with my meltdowns. lol.

Sandra said...

I am not of a religious bent, but if you had a religious experience that gave you a sense of peace and well-being, it can only be seen as a wonderful thing. It's probably a good thing you listened. : )

Ganeida said...

lol, it was more in the form of orders issued & recieved but I would not put it in the sense of *peace & well being* category as there was nothing passive about the experience. *scratches head* Can't think how to explain it any better. Not mystical, or airy~fairy. God is practical. I had a need; He met it.

MamaOlive said...

Thanks for the reminder. I had a vision once, but in my practical way I often push it aside as emotionalism and don't ponder it too much. And then I go on living "for God" and yet sometimes forget how majestic He really is. "He's not a tame lion."

Melody Plainview said...

I call these kinds of moments "touchstones" or "landmarks," because in my times of doubt (and I do still have those on occasion), I go back to these moments and dwell in the reality of them. A "faith in hindsight" of sorts.

I, too, learned to hear Him by shutting my mouth and listening. Even still, I sometimes hesitate to tell other people, "...and then He told me...." Most people I know wouldn't hear anything I said after "He told me...."

molytail said...

You're not mad. God has many ways of getting our attention - he got mine a little while back, not with voice but with a rather loud bunch of crashing and smashing and such. I've never been very good at slowing down and *listening*, so I guess He decided to make a bit more of a racket!