Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hear That Voice Again

One of my favorite Bible characters is John the Baptist.  He broke molds, and shattered perceptions in pursuit of God's voice.  This is easy to understand if we think of him as only a successful speaker.  When you are someone that everyone listens to, or are powerful, you are allowed to be eccentric.  As we study though (for example Luke 3), we find that he was not always so effective in getting his message across. He is a voice crying in the wilderness. He speaks but people don't listen. He offers an inspiring hope, the promise of better things.  To little avail.  I know it is often that I miss the God's voice when it should be clear.

My study has led me to understand that there are several ways we are made ready to hear His voice.  Let me suggest a couple that have been readily apparent to me.  Firstly, He disrupts our ordinary. Second, He provides opportunities for us to give of ourselves for others.  Lastly, He strengthens and emboldens us in our trials.

Let me give you an example of how my ordinary was disrupted recently. A friend of mine that I hadn't heard from in quite some time called me out of the blue.  The call wasn't particularly significant, but this friend I hadn't seen from prompted me to recall obligations and touchpoints I had been neglecting.  The call was the catalyst that woke me from my everday routine of reverie and allowed me eyes to be opened to my larger world again.
"It is true that the voice of God, having once fully penetrated the heart, becomes strong as the tempest and loud as the thunder; but before reaching the heart it is as weak as a light breath which scarcely agitates the air. It shrinks from noise, and is silent amid agitation."
- Saint Ignatius of Loyola
When we are aware of the world around us, God gets our attention focused by inviting us to give of ourselves for others. Take for example John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement. Historians estimate that during the 52 years of his ministry, Wesley preached approximately 54,450 sermons. On an average day he preached two times, and very often he would preach four or five times in one day. Pursuing his Father's will was like that single acorn that sprouts to become a mighty oak tree from which grow 54,450 acorns.  What sermons are you supposed to be delivering today?

In our lives, we are each meant to replicate and produce, to give back to God generously and overtly for the abundant gift that God has given us.  We are each to be like acorns that become oaks that sprouts thousands of other nuts! In giving to others we imitate the bountifulness of our God.

By giving to others, we are able counteract disillusionment, depression, and despair.  It is when we are each fulfilling our call that we most easily and gracefully encourage and embolden one another.  Seize those opportunities to help others and you will find others seizing opportunities to brighten your life.
"He who loves the coming of the Lord is not she who affirms it is far off, nor he who says it is near. It is the one who, whether it be far or near, awaits it with sincere faith, steadfast hope, and fervent love."
- Saint Augustine

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