I read two things this morning that gratefully slowed me down long enough to nurture a different way of hearing what I was reading.
The first was today’s reading from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest.
God’s command is, “Take now,” not later. It is incredible how we debate! We know something is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it immediately. If we are to climb to the height God reveals, it can never be done later— it must be done now. And the sacrifice must be worked through our will before we actually perform it.
I read this and thought of recent incidents when I have asked one of my son’s to do a task, a simple task, and come back later only to find him/them still glued in front of a video game or TV program or … you get the picture, I’m sure.
Occasionally they will have simply agreed to do the task, assuring me it would get done. Occasionally they will have argued or grumbled about having been asked and why couldn’t this brother or that brother do it instead. (I have four sons, all still at home.) And often, whatever thing it is that they are doing consumes their very being and they completely put away any words that might proceed from their mother’s mouth. (Here, insert a scene from the Charlie Brown comic strip where you see one of the character’s with a completely blank look and the voice bubble above saying “Wah, wah wah wah.” Yep, that very one.)
Here is where I would love to be able to excuse myself and project my complete innocence from ever responding to my Heavenly Father with the very same attitudes. If only that were true. But, sadly, it is not. I hear His voice. I hear His instruction to me. I know the gentle touch of Holy Spirit as She confirms the Word to the depth of my being. And yet, just like my sons, I am all too often in want of the Holy Ones’ desired response.
I wonder if it is possible that HOW I hear is influencing WHAT I hear. Am I hearing a command, the insistence of a parent requiring me to do something that I simply do not want to do, or at the very least, don’t choose to do because it is a request that I did not originate? Is there just a hint of rebellion that refuses the request of another just because I can???
But, what if, in the recesses of my being, what I heard instead was a delightful invitation to experience relationship and intimacy and the joy of simply doing a task alongside One Whom I dearly love? Would that change how I hear the Word spoken to me, the request made of me? I wonder…
The second was yesterday’s introduction in Bible Gateway’s 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. (Yes, I did say I just read it this morning. Good thing I was late, it wouldn’t have hit me nearly the same yesterday.)
There are three things for which the Christian needs a regular time alone during the day: meditation on the Scripture, prayer, and intercession…
Again, I was impressed with the question of HOW am I hearing WHAT is being said? This is important for those of us who have heard an imperative wrapped up in the Christian “discipline” of quiet time. Even those words trigger the Charlie Brown response in my body.
But, if it is the invitation of a lover asking me to come away to a quiet place for an intimate moment of refreshing and renewing … well, that’s an entirely different thing all together. That stimulates desire. And hope. And faith in a promising future and a delightful present.
So, just maybe, it’s time to put my wonder into action…
A quiet moment away with the One Who loves me just the way I am…