A sad thing happened after all my blog-talk about listening for God’s voice. Things went well for a while. God and I were chatting every day.
Then I got busy and forgot to listen.
Maybe that’s why I haven’t had much to write about lately.
A few days ago I began to notice something was wrong, and I got lonesome. I decided to ask Him to speak to me, and made a decision, again, to listen for his response.
I don’t think He’s quit speaking. All the little serendipitous blessings—the coincidences of thought and circumstance that just “happen”—the inspiration and gentle nudges to do this or that activity—all these things point to His continued intimate involvement in my life. But it’s all happened so quietly I’ve failed to notice the source of the little miracles.
I’ve continued to walk the path of life, choosing directions at crossroads, negotiating the curves, and enjoying the beauty, as if I were alone. I’ve missed the joy of companionship. I’ve missed out on the best part.
His companionship means more to me than anything. So why is it so easy to forget Him?
I think there are at least three reasons. First, I’ve noticed that when I’m enjoying my visible world it’s much easier to get distracted, so that the reality of the invisible world fades into the background. When things are difficult in this visible world, it’s easier to turn to the invisible one for help.
Also, the visible world is so much more in-my-face. It's more demanding. Awareness of the spiritual realm, where God lives and moves and speaks, gets lost in the noisy business of living in the material world. I need to work at living in the light of His love, in the reality that is eternal.
Which brings me to the final reason I forget: I am lazy. I avoid working at anything that forces me to swim against the stream of the cultural whirlpool/cesspool I find myself dogpaddling around in. Asking Him to speak and listening for His voice needs to become a habit, so it happens without conscious decision on my part, and developing good habits always takes work.
The spiritual discipline of “practicing the Presence of God” is basic to the Christian walk. It should be the first one we develop when we start deliberately walking with God.
So here I go again, starting from the beginning.
And it’s not as hard as it might seem. The day after my new beginning, I went out early to a local river canyon looking for one more photoshoot spot, being careful to keep my ears open for more than the sound of the early morning birds.
For the novel I'm publishing, we need a scene by a river where Zinovy can kneel down and give his life to God. I found a spot that might work, but it wasn’t ideal. I turned to go back to the car, but the still, small Voice told me to continue farther down the path instead. So I turned again, and went farther down the trail, where I came out onto a wide, pebble beach along a stretch of the river that will work much better for our pictures.
When I turned back in response to His prompt, the picture at the top of this post is what I saw. And I’m sure I heard Him say, “I’m walking along this writing path, with you, remember?”
I do need to remember. That’s all I have to do, in fact. As long as I remember, consciously, every day, everything else will fall into place. I know that, by personal experience.
Prayer is a dialogue between two persons who love each other.
I just need to develop the habit of listening to His side of the conversation.