Sunday, June 03, 2007

Why do I want God to speak to me?

Why do I want God to speak to me?
~copied from the Shaohannah's Hope blog on MySpace.

"...a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!' When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified." – Matthew 17:5-6

Why do I so often ask God to speak to me? Am I even slightly aware of what that might mean for my life? In much of America, we have re-created God in our own image, and we have decided that God must mean for us to be safe, happy, and successful. Our God probably wants us to work hard, save our money, have a spouse and 2.5 kids, stay away from doing really bad things, and in general blend in with our culture. I am often under the delusion that if God spoke to me, he'd probably say, "You're doing a pretty good job, just do a little better, and you'll be fine." I beg God to speak to me because I am so sure that a God of love will tell me what my itching ears want to hear.

That, however, is not the God of the Bible. Though I could so often flippantly say, "God told me this or that," if I truly heard from God, I might be struck just as the disciples were. Have I ever fallen facedown to the ground, terrified? Maybe I would if I fully comprehended what God was saying to the disciples. Is there anything more terrifying to my daily life than God holding up His Son as an example of a life with which He is pleased and saying, "Listen to him"?

For Jesus was a man who had no place to lay his head: a homeless man who was mocked, beaten and killed. He was despised and rejected, persecuted and neglected; he gave away more than he took; he forgave more than he condemned; he humbled himself more than he fought to get noticed. And listen to Jesus? This is the guy who said wash people's feet, love your enemies, and if someone mistreats you, let them—in fact, turn the other cheek and help them take advantage of you! This is the guy who told one man to give to the poor all that he had, and told another man not to go back and say goodbye to his family before following him. He specifically said that I must take up my cross in order to follow him. What if I really listened to what Jesus said?

If I am honest with myself, I am not really listening to God. What he says is so hard, and what it might really mean to encounter God would certainly humble me to a point that would be uncomfortable… would a loving God really want me to be uncomfortable?

"God almighty, eternal, righteous and merciful, may we poor sinners carry out your will and always do what pleases you. May we be so inwardly purified, enlightened, and alight with the fire of the Holy Spirit that we follow in the footsteps of your well-beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ." -Francis of Assisi

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