Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Two by Four

The Christian walk is full of beautiful images for the way that God speaks to God's people.  One of my pastoral idols, Bill Hybels has recently written a book called, "The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond."  I love that image of a whisper coming from God.  It is such a soft metaphor.  The image of a whisper coming from the God of the universe is a very personal image of communication.  It is even an intimate image.  One gets the feeling of, "sweet nothings" being wafted to one through a summer breeze.  The Bible is full of of equally soft and intimate images of God's communication with his people.  In the Bible God speaks through;

*  A tree on fire
*  A donkey's mouth
*  Through the dampness of a fleece
*  In dreams
*  Through the mouths of angels

There is a hymn that was recently written about God calling a person into ministry.  The image of this song is of God singing to someone;  "I the wind of snow and rain, I have heard my people's pain, all who dwell in dark and sin, my hand will save."  God's song to us is then responded to by a lone singer, "Here I am Lord, it is I Lord, I have heard you calling in the night."

A song from God, calling in the night.  What a wonderful image of God speaking to us..

Unfortunately, God has never spoken to me in a whisper in my ear.  God has never spoken in a tree on fire.  God has never sung me a song in the night.  God always speaks to me in much more abrupt tones.  God usually tells me information that is startling and jarring.  God gets my attention with an "oh wow!".  God stops everything that is moving in one direction and offers a totally different direction.  In short;

God speaks to me through two by four boards right on the side of my head....

The cartoon in the above caption captures how God speaks to me most.  It is usually not a very pleasant experience when God speaks to me.  Probably because I am hard headed, God needs the most attention getting way to get through to me.  God needs me to really GET what He is saying to me.  God would probably prefer subtler means of communicating with me, but God knows that they really won't get the job done.  Examples of God sending a two by four to my head recently are:

*  When God sent our daughter Haley into our lives, our four year old thunderbolt.  God gave us three weeks notice about the possibility of adopting Haley, before He sent her into our lives.  A two by four...

*  When my brother Jamie informed me that a large group of discontented members of Highlands Church were planning on leaving all of a sudden, out of the blue, overnight, and going to a different church.  A two by four...

*  When I visited Mozambique on a mission trip with Lifewater International, and met a little girl with a green snot bubble on her nose, and I wiped it away, and asked where her parents were.  Someone told me, "Her parents are dead, they died of AIDS.  This little girl has AIDS too."  A two by four...

So, I am still waiting and listening for God to whisper sweet nothings to me in the night through a song or a prayer.  But with me, God prefers a much more direct method of communication...

A two by four...

All For Now,

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