"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Monday, March 22, 2010

A familiar but unknown language

I don't always know what He is trying to say to me. God speaks in a familiar language... but, with tones, vocabulary and an accent that is still unknown.

God's word tells me that His people know His voice. The Word assures me that His kids will hear Him and listen obediently. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me". (John 10:27) I believe that He intends us to hear Him in many ways.

In the recent years, my idea of what this might look like has expanded and for this I am eternally grateful. I "hear" Him not only in my daily reading of His word and through great Bible teaching. But, also, I am hearing Him in music, books, and the words of a friend. Even more exciting for me more recently is that I am hearing Him in (through) His creation... His birds, His green hills, His wind and His waves. I am hearing Him more as I watch my children play and as I watch my dog disobey.

My spiritual ears are hearing Him more and more these days... But, so very often, I still do not know what He is trying to say. And, I so often, too, I don't hear Him at all.

On the train ride home tonight I couldn't help overhear a boisterous conversation next to me. Two young girls were chattering away at full speed, with much exuberance. You can just picture the scene... with hands waving and smiling faces they were interrupting each other and not noticing a bit! They were enjoying themselves and their little world, as if no one else was around, with full freedom.

As, I sat quietly and was bombarded with their words I assumed at first that they were speaking Welsh. It isn't terribly uncommon to hear Welsh spoken. But, only a minute into listening, I was shocked to find they were speaking English. Every four or five words I could recognized. As I listened more intently, I knew from the intonation that they were indeed speaking my language... and, yet, I could hardly make out what they were saying. How was this the same language that I speak?!

An accent to my ears, these two girls were having no trouble what-so-ever understanding each other and on they went. Again, as I listened, I could make out a phrase or a word... but, I just wasn't able to pick out even the theme or topic of their conversations.

This is how I feel with God sometimes.

I know His language... I read His Holy Word and I get a beautifully clear taste of God's thoughts, His words, His voice, and His tone. But, then again, sometimes even as I read the Word I am stuck in some places.

I don't always understand what He is trying to say in certain verses or passages of Scripture. Why does He say that in His Word? Why does He do that, or see things that way? I don't understand, Lord, can be a common enough conversation piece for the Father and I during my quiet times.

But I feel this even more so as I attempt to listen for Him throughout my day. Of course, sometimes it is just simply "not listening" or distraction that keep me from hearing. But, at other times it feels like I am watching and wondering... only catching every five words in the conversation that is going on all around me.

As I work throughout my day, watch my children and my dog, I feel I am listening in on God's conversations. ...But, I am only catching a bit here and there.

God's voice in my every day life is like a familiar language... it sounds familiar somewhere deep within. I know He is speaking and wants to speak to me. But, His accent is beyond me! I haven't listened enough, intently enough, to become more accustomed to the tones, the accent and the vocabulary. It takes time.

I have learned new languages before--- they all take time. Lots and lots of time. I have only lived in this country for 8 months. I know that in time the accents will become more familiar on the train. I know that I will learn and that the confusion that I feel when I try to listen will diminish in time.

I trust this is true in my listening to God, as well. I know that as I practice by sitting daily in His word... as I practice by "trying out" things I think He might be saying... as I practice opening my ears (and eyes) to the conversation all around me--- I am certain my ear will be trained more and more to His voice.

Father, teach me to hear you. Teach me to listen, to obey and to follow. Open my eyes, my ears and my heart to hear You and understand when You speak!
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