LIstening to God

By Dave Henning / November 11, 2012

John Ortberg opens Chapter 9 (“The Guided Life”) of The Life You’ve Always Wanted with the astute observation that is one thing to speak about God, yet quite another thing to listen.  In George Bernard Shaw’s play St. Joan, one of the characters asks Joan why God’s voice never speaks to him as she claims God’s voice speaks to her.  Joan tells the character that God’s voice indeed speaks constantly to him.  He is just failing to listen!

Jacob felt much the same way at Bethel (Genesis 25:16) when he said: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”  C. S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain that one reason we may be unaware that God is speaking to us is that He doesn’t need intervening sounds and images to guide our thoughts:

“If your thoughts and passions were directly present to me, like my own, without any mark of externality, or otherness, how should I distinguish them from mine? . . . You may reply, as a Christian, that God (and Satan) do, in fact, affect my consciousness in this direct way without signs of ‘externality’.  Yes, and the result is that most people remain ignnorant of the existence of both.”

Following our ministry downsizing or position loss, the “white noise” of negative thoughts and emotions threatens to mask the presence and voice of God at the precise point it is most necessary.  We need just enough faith to step out of the boat.


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Dave Henning

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