I seem to have been talking about God speaking to me quite a bit in the last few weeks and it’s made me wonder why it is something I am so hesitant to do. After all, some of the occasions – whether encouragement or warning or challenge – have been important to me. I remember them with a clarity that I don’t remember many things. Why don’t I shout them from the rooftops? After all it’s amazing and wonderful to me that God is concerned with the good and bad of my life.
I’m not talking about telling non-Christians who would probably think I’m crazy and with some justification as it’s likely to be outside their experience. Although it amazes me how many of them will say that something is “meant” to be. I would argue that if something is “meant” that there must be something greater than us ordering the world. But that’s not the issue I’m talking about now.
It’s why do I find it so hard to tell Christians?
Undoubtedly, some of the reason comes from the era in which I grew up when it was not OK to put yourself forward. It was not acceptable to say you were good at something or that you had received something special. Let alone a word from God. It was viewed as arrogance – a sin with a capital S.
At that time, there was a greater reverence for God, for the priesthood and for all people in authority. Us ordinary folk wouldn’t expect God to have words for us. It wasn’t all bad by any means but the pendulum had swung too far towards awe and fear whereas today we are in danger of the pendulum swinging too close to relationship and chumminess. Another issue that I’m not talking about now.
Is part of my fear that people will think that I believe that I am special? Something that I know that I am not. I know that, as with my school reports, “Could do better” would appear frequently on any reckoning of my life. No, it’s not that I believe that I am special. It’s that I believe it’s ordinary for God to speak to all of us. That’s what relationship is all about and God paid a huge cost (in Jesus’ death and resurrection) to make it so.
The more I listen and look for God to speak in my life, the more I see and hear what he is saying in all sorts of forms. Yes, through thoughts almost words that cross my mind that I just know haven’t come from me. But also, in co-incidences (god-incidences). And in the beauty of the world. And in the kindness of friends. And in words/pictures from Carissa that don’t make sense to her but make instant sense to me. And in funny quirky unexpected things that speak of intimacy and knowing me so well.
If I believe that God knows me so well. Then, I believe that he knows everyone personally too and will speak to each of us in a way that will reach us. Just as we do with our friends. My brother-in-law is the only person I discuss golf at length with. If I adjust what and how I talk according to whom I’m speaking then how much more will God.
As Christians, do we mistrust people who say God has spoken? Understandable on one level because we know of so many occasions through history when God’s words have been manipulated for evil. Yes, of course, we must be careful when we think God speaks. It’s easy to be deceived by our own desires. We need to check if it’s consistent with the bible and can only confirm that a word came from God with hindsight. Has it been good and true in my life?
We need to have the expectation that God is longing to talk with us. Let’s celebrate and be glad that God wants to speak into and interact with our lives for as it says in Romans 5:11
So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.