Thursday, October 28, 2010
How Am I Hearing from God?
Bonnie Gray over at Faith Barista has been doing a blog carnival for several weeks now, on different questions of faith. For this week, she posed this question: How am I hearing from God?
I’ve pondered that question for a week; driving home from New Orleans this past weekend afforded some time to think. I realized that it’s actually easier to answer the negative form of the question, or how I don’t hear from God: I don’t hear a voice whispering inside my head, giving me instructions, and I don’t hear a voice speaking to me in the dark of night.
And then, walking to the office building where I work from the parking lot, I saw the sky pictured above, and it all became clear.
I hear God when I read his word. The books of the Bible that are the most familiar to me in this regard are Genesis, the Gospel of John and Acts.
I hear God when I look from the pavement to the sky, and see a sky that stuns me with its beauty.
I hear God when a minister who’s no longer a minister leads a devotion, and there’s pain and searching and love and wonder.
I hear God when our church music director plays Widor’s Toccata from the 5th Symphony in between services, for no reason other than the joy that fills his heart and overflows onto the keys and pedals and pipes.
I hear God when my seven-month-old grandson laughs his seven-month-old laugh.
I hear God when my wife touches my arm or my face, or we exchange a look that only we can translate.
I hear God in the emergency room on a Saturday night.
I hear God in the wind that pulsates the leaves of the trees in my backyard.
I hear God in the calls for help that came from attics in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, cries that continued after the phone batteries died, cries that continued after the voices went silent forever.
I hear God in the tears of abused women and children, in the screams of rape victims in the Sudan and the Congo, in the dying murmurs of the sick and dying in Port-au-Prince.
I hear God in the flowers.
I hear God in the shouting of the stars on the blackest night and in the waves crashing to a beach at full tide.
I hear God in the words of the poets, the paintings of the poets, the photographs of the poets and the music of the poets, because the singing won’t stop because it can’t.
I hear God in the silence of the mountains.
I hear God in the prisons of Iran and China, and in the prisons of America and Britain and France, and in the prisons of Cuba and Venezuela.
I hear God in the one voice that will stand against tyranny.
I hear God in my pastor’s sermon.
I hear God when hearts are made vulnerable, susceptible to breaking.
I hear God because I have to listen.