So, God spoke to me while I was taking a hike today.
It actually took me a while to decide that was how I wanted to say it: “God spoke to me while I was taking a hike today.”
Most of the time, I water that truth down. I imply that I think it was God. Or I leave open the possibility that it was just random synapses firing and it seemed like God. Or I shrug my shoulders and I admit that maybe I’ve got it all wrong.
Some of the time, it’s not a bad thing that I leave myself these outs. There are times when I just am not sure if it is God. And it drives me nuts when people use the “God Card” and try to use their belief that God is speaking to them for some form of gain.
But other times, when I fail to boldly proclaim what I know to be true, it’s just gutless. Wimpy. I recognize that the world says it’s crazy talk, to think that God is speaking to you, and in my cowardice I decide that it’s more important that the world judge me sane than I speak the truth.
Which brings me back to the beginning: God spoke to me while I was taking a hike today.
I was praying. My mind was on some pretty sucky, scary things that are going on right now. The words I used in my head, they were something like, “God would you please see me through these things.”
His response was “Jeff, in order to get through it, you have to get through it.”
Except for it wasn’t really those words, it wasn’t really any words, but it wasn’t images either. And He didn’t put my name at the beginning, but it was so personally intended for me, that in some symbolic way it was almost like He responded with my name.
Bare with me. It’s going to take some explaining to do a better job to explain what God said to me today.
Sometimes I ask for one thing because it’s the right question but what I really want is another thing entirely. I might ask my wife, “Would you like me to cook dinner?” When I really want her to suggest that we eat out. I might ask my kids, “Do you want to play now?” When I really want them to be busy doing something else so that I can read and write.
I guess if I’m honest, I’ll admit the idea behind this is I can reap the benefits of things going my way with out having to look like I suggested it.
When God said “In order to get through it, you have to get through it.” I saw that the words I was praying were about right. But the heart that I prayed them with, it wasn’t about right. On the surface I was claiming to want God to accompany me through my troubles.
But beneath the surface? What I really wanted was to be lifted up and out of them. I didn’t want to go through them at all. I didn’t want to own responsibility for this. I guess I thought if I was subtle enough God would think it was his idea. (Note sarcasm in that last sentence. I don’t actually think I can fool God.)
So I’ve been meditating tonight on Jesus in the garden. He was about to go through some epically sucky stuff. And Jesus said, “God, I really don’t want to do this. But if you want me to go through with it, I will.”
We often focus on the fact that Jesus was obedient. And this is an amazing thing. But the thing we can miss sometimes is that Jesus was also honest. He was up front and honest: “God, I really don’t want to go through this.”
I guess that’s where I should have started today. I wonder what God would have said to me if I had.