Since coming home from PNG, I’ve had a chance to eat things that we haven’t had in four years. One of them is this salad: mixed greens, toasted almonds and Craisins. It makes me think about the Banqueting Table referred to in Psalm 23. Eating at a banqueting table is a great picture of how I feel when God speaks.
I have been hesitant to write about this subject because it is so personal and touches on the painful parts of my history. Growing up in boarding school, I became frustrated by any kind of legalistic thinking and even as a six year old cried out to God (usually at night) when I missed my family who lived on the other side of our island, although I quickly learned to hide my emotions. As I grew older, I began listening for God’s voice and heard it from time to time. It wasn’t until I became an adult when I learned of Brother Lawrence, who talked of ‘Practicing the Presence of God,’ even during mundane tasks, like washing the kitchen floor. I began stopping to Practice the Hours and continued to seek God in the small and big things of my life, and noticed how He would show up. It was obvious when I didn’t include Him because that’s when my selfish/foolish thoughts or self pity would come to the surface. As a result, He gave me wisdom (obviously from Him) in difficult situations and I saw Him in a whole new light. He even healed some of my most painful memories, which had been buried deep but leaked into my relationships and daily living. I used to be afraid to think about Heaven, because it meant leaving the known for the unknown. But now, I’ve had a glimpse of it and of Jesus Himself, and I can’t wait to get there.
So today, I’m thankful for a God who speaks. Not just in the HUGE difficult things of life, but the smaller things. Yesterday I started my day weary and with a headache…thinking about all the things I had left on my plate, including an endless pile of laundry in my basement. Here is what He said to me
I know what you are thinking and I can handle it. Remember to keep Me in the forefront. I want you to trust Me with all the little and big things in your life today. You can do what you need to do, but you have to take time to rest. Your body is beaten down right now.
So today I’m thankful for my God, who encourages me to take care of myself (even when I normally would keep pushing on with my daily tasks.) He challenges me to tell the truth and to keep Him in the forefront (two themes that seem to be repeated again and again.) What if I looked to him every day for direction about what I needed to do that day? What if I stopped planning everything myself? What would my life look like then? What would organized church and missions look like if everybody sought God’s voice for their goals and purpose?
A side note here: I have seen people use “God told me….” to elevate themselves and to abuse other people. All I can say is, this is not what I’m talking about. (If I were on the receiving end of a comment like that, I would go straight to God and ask Him.) The book “Surprised by the Voice of God,” by Jack Deere addresses this very well.