“For God does speak—now one way, now another— though man may not perceive it.” (Job 33:14)
I shared my testimony last week about the church I grew up in and how, after reading the Bible, I was excited to do the “stuff” that the Bible characters did. One of the warnings an older, well-meaning Christian gave me at the time was that I should focus on the truth of the Scriptures and not seek “experience.” “All those Holy Spirit folks,” I was told, “were just out for excitement and experiences.” I was a teenager, so exciting experiences didn’t sound too bad to me.
Interestingly, this was the same guy who loved that old story of the man trapped in a terrible flood. The only spot he could find that wasn’t underwater was the roof of his house. So, he climbed to the roof and sat there. On the top of his house he prayed, “God, please save me!”
Not long after, a rescue team came by in a boat and invited him to get in. “No thanks,” he said, “God is going to deliver me.” The water kept rising. Eventually the man is on top of his chimney. A rescue helicopter, looking for survivors, hovered over him and dropped him a rope ladder. “Climb up!” they shouted over the loudspeaker.
“No thank you, God is going to deliver me!”
Eventually the house was swept away in the current and the man drowned. When he arrived in heaven, the man met Peter at the Pearly Gates. He was angry. “What’s wrong?” Peter asked. The man replied, “In Psalm 72, God promised to save the needy from death! How come he didn’t save me?!”
“What are you talking about?” Peter answered. “You prayed and we sent you a boat AND a helicopter!”
I think a lot of us are like the man on the roof. We think that our circumstances or experiences have nothing to do with hearing God’s voice. We know that God speaks through the Bible, but we assume that’s it.
But God speaks to us through everyday occurrences, trials, even correction. The trick is paying attention and listening to the Holy Spirit. God speaks, but are we listening?
We’ll dig into the topic of hearing God this Sunday in our sermon series, “Vox Dei – the Voice of God.” See you in church!