Can you hear?

When Peter spoke to the crowds gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost, they were amazed to hear him in their own language. They listened, and their lives were never the same. What if, as soon as they heard him talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus, they had stomped off, unwilling to listen to his foolishness? What if they closed their minds, certain they already knew the way to go? The way to life? Would they be like Lot’s wife, who, instead of following God’s lead looked back, longing for Sodom, and turned into a hard, lifeless pillar?
deadwood on Dry Tortugas island

How many times has God spoken to us and instead of receiving words of life we chose what we have determined is the way our life, or the life of one we care about, should go?

Can we continue to live with such hardness?

I think much of the benefit of giving thanks is in the softening effect it has on our psyche. We can’t raise a hand in thanksgiving and a fist in anger at the same time.

Even when circumstances are hard, when we look for God’s hand at work, or listen to his words, spoken in our own language, we hear the whisper in the silence that guides us forward.

We find the light in the darkness, and that tiny flame begins the softening in our souls.

How long can we go on, ignoring the word of life, growing ever harder?

Until our shell is so thick that we cannot move, cannot turn, cannot hear?

God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. Ephesians 5:18 MSG

Do you hear thunder?

Out of nothingness, God spoke. And there was light, day and night, luxurious colors of sunrise and sunset, delight in the sky. He said it was good. He continued speaking, filling the darkness and emptiness with constellations and planets and seas and land, plants and animals, all wonderful, all good, each singing its own harmony with his good song.

When all was ready, he crafted a man and breathed his life into him. God declared him good. Later, he created a partner for the man, said she was good as well, and charged them to reflect him, his love, his goodness and his generosity in caring for the world and everything in it.

In the cool of the evening, he walked and talked with them.

Can you imagine, hearing God’s voice every evening?

At the end of each day being told how good you are, how well you worked,
how much you are loved?

Sadly, they chose to listen to another voice, one that questioned,
“Does God really love me? If he cared he wouldn’t keep anything from me.”

They believed the lie.

They ate the fruit, the only thing God had forbidden,
in order to protect them from themselves.

When God came in the evening, they hid in shame.

Everything shifted from goodness, wholeness, rightness
to pain, futility, sickness, and empty hearts,

always seeking,

never finding.

“Banished from their home, the shattered mirrors became strangers, isolated from one another and their God. The desperate search to regain goodness had begun. Their anguished, futile efforts at goodness would supplant the joyful benediction, “You are Good!” So, in desperation to hear it once again, they sought ways to bestow it upon themselves.”
Give Them Grace

The history of the earth, our family lineage, and our own lives are filled with broken mirrors, sometimes with bits and pieces of the reflection of goodness, more broken than reflective, of joy and celebration, but never the whole image.

We never hear the sweetness of “You are good” in the cool of the evening.

Yesterday I listened to John 12, after Jesus entered Jerusalem amid crowds and palm branches and great approval, when he told those around him that instead of rising up as a political liberator, he would die.

He was vulnerable about how hard it was to approach his own death, but, believing the truth, said,

“Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.” The listening crowd said, “Thunder!” Others said, “An angel spoke to him!”

Often, we think if we’d been right there, saw Jesus in person, watched him raise the dead and heal the sick, and heard his voice, then we would believe every word he said, follow him anywhere.

I was struck with the different perceptions of the people around him that day.

When God spoke, most of those who’d just rushed up to crown Jesus as king only heard thunder.

Some really close to him thought the voice was just an angel.

They missed God’s voice.

Even with Jesus right in front of them, they still believed
the lie that God does not speak to us.

That he doesn’t care.

That we have to get our needs met on our own, through our own efforts.

I believe God is still creating. Still speaking his love into being.

What do you hear?

If it’s the thunder of condemnation that you carry on your back, of pain, or the weight of what you have done, or what has been done to you, what you feel you have a right to, but it seems God has withheld

could you exchange the lie for the truth, that God really does love you?

That Jesus came to restore your goodness?

Even those trying hard to be a good “believer” could be missing God’s voice, thinking it’s just an angel, or an over-active imagination.

Believing lies of I’m-not-good-enough

I-have-to-try-harder

do more

give more

hide the real me

Is it possible to lay it all down?

All the anger.

All he resentment.

All the regret.

All the anguish.

All the trying.

All the pretending.

All the hard work.

And simply believe his love?

Hear his voice?