Two years ago, I walked into Lent thinking that I knew how it was going to go.
I had a plan and a purpose to my desire…and was totally blindsided by the fact that, when I come before Him to let go, His plan and His purpose must overcome my desires. I still remember sitting in my car, my head pressed to the steering wheel and my heart ripped in two, as I had to make a choice: His way or mine.
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I grew up in Christ hearing His voice as an audible one.
It has been with me for as long as I can remember and it is something that I heard so often that I knew Him with the slightest whisper. I really never wondered if He was nearby…and, sadly, I quickly learned how take it all for granted. It wasn’t until I realized that there was a heavy price to pay for that voice in my life that I sought the advice of my Pastor on the first day of Lent, 2010.
As I poured out the spiritual challenges I was facing, he helped me to put things into the proper prospective…and then said words that I will never, as long as I live, forget. They came from his mouth, but my heart knew immediately that they came from His will.
“In order to resolve the issue, you may need to ask Him to shut it down. All of it. Including His voice.”
Tears instantly formed to cloud my vision as I responded as quickly as the words hit my mind.
“But I don’t want to…I don’t want Him to stop talking to me.”
We bantered a bit on that point…but the reality was that he was right and I knew it. I had to let go of what I had always known and step onto the path He was calling me walk…and that meant trusting that He would still be with me, even if I couldn’t hear the sound of His whispers.
I made my way to my car before I totally broke down…before I really let go…and before the world, as I had always known it, exploded into stunning silence that left me so. very. afraid.
Tonight, as I read Francine River’s “Redeeming Love”, I was suddenly slammed with the memories of that day oh so long ago…and I could only sit in awe, wondering how it was that an author I had never met knew my struggle so well!?!
For those who haven’t read this book (and I think you should): Angel was sold into prostitution as a young child and continued in that profession as a young woman…until a man came along with a God-driven desire to love her in a way that would undo all she had known until she could re-learn how to live.
Having just “rescued” her from her old life, Michael was tending to her needs in his cabin in the woods when she finds herself unsure how to deal with the new atmosphere, the new man and the quiet of a life outside the bustling city:
“The morning sunlight streamed in through an open window. A fire burned in the grate. Her stomach was full, and she was warm. She should be satisfied. She should be able to relax and just lean back and not think about anything. Solitude should be enough.
What was wrong with her?
Maybe it was the silence. She was used to sounds attacking her from all sides…she had never had this silence, this quiet that rang in her ears.
“There’s plenty of sound,” he said. “Just listen for it.” “
That afternoon in my car… when I cried until there were no more tears and I whispered out the prayer that I couldn’t stand to taste on my lips… when He responded with one last “I love you” before He dropped the sound proof wall between us… I actually said “Oh, God, I don’t know what to do with the silence” and honestly believed I wouldn’t ever hear Him again.
Tonight, two years later, I realize that while His audible voice is one that rarely falls upon my ears…He is still there.
In the heart-shapes I discover out in nature…
In the birds that come to sit and sing on the fence as I swing and pray…
In the moments of peace when His presence is close enough to touch…
In the depth of my senses that seek to discover what I am often blinded to…
…He still speaks…
…I’ve just had to re-learn how to listen.
Looking up, as always…