I used to think that God was always talking to us and that we just did not always listen. I do not think I believe that anymore. I do think he speaks to us – and probably often – but I am growing convinced that he does not speak hastily. His words are lovingly calculated and timely. He does not keep yammering at us like a nagging mother until we finally listen. He is patient to wait until we are willing to listen.
“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
I can tell when my kids’ hearts are in a place where they are ready to hear what I have to say. I do not usually share the nuggets of truth that I want to share with them until I know that they are listening. Sometimes it is a correction, but other times it is just a piece of my heart that I want to share with them. I usually ask them to turn and look at me so I know they are listening. Of course, looking me in the eye does not guarantee that they will actually take what I have to say to heart, but at least they are in a better posture to receive. I trust that if it is not today, then some day soon, they will trust me and receive the life-giving words I have to offer. That is my hope, anyway, and I will not cease sharing these nuggets of truth with them until I know they have received them.
This morning I realized that I have unknowingly expected God to behave differently than I as a parent. I have expected him to shout direction at me while I am busy ignoring him or just obliviously plowing through life. I have wanted him to fix my problems rather than empowering me to fix the problems myself. In a sense, I have asked God to be the kind of parent to me that I would never want to be for my children. Interesting.
Certainly, there are the instances where I shout the name of one of my children from clear across the room because, you know, they need to hear RIGHT NOW. I have had a few of “those” times with God. If we are wandering into the path of an oncoming car, so to speak, God will go to great lengths to protect us. Some times we may have to be tackled to avoid something worse.
When God tackles you, you know it’s for your good.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Hebrews 12:7).
Like the kid who has chased the ball into the street, we do no always understand why we may have been tackled. We did not see or recognize the eminent danger, but thankful someone was there who did. Likewise, we do not always understand why God has allowed obstacles in our path or has tackled us and brought us low, but we can trust that it is for the best. Infertility has been one of those obstacles that has threatened to take me out.
I have spoken of infertility a bit on this blog. I guess that was the beginning of this journey or writing, but it has become far more than a blog for those dealing with infertility. I do not wish to focus very much energy on what is going wrong. I want to focus on what is going right. I want to bring encouragement where encouragement has been given to me. I can think of no problem that was solved by merely focusing on and dwelling on the problem. So while infertility is still a part of my journey and has been for quite some time, I do not wish to give it too much attention.
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).
God will continue to hear my voice concerning infertility, more children, adoption, etc. I will lay my requests before him and wait in expectation. I trust he will lead. I trust he accepts me, laments and all. I know he offers peace. I will accept it.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Though I struggle when he is silent, I no longer doubt that God wants to speak to me. You have to believe God wants to speak to you. Why would God NOT want to speak to you? Truly, there is nothing you could do/not do that would cause God to give up on you. I can not imagine either of my children doing something so vile that I would not want to speak with them and be in relationship with them. I have had moments when I did not like my children very much because of their actions, but my deep love for them has never wavered. When they “fail,” my heart is full of compassion, wanting to help them succeed next time. When they have hurt someone, I am that much more invested in making sure they learn how to love.
When we fall, no matter how far, God’s heart is full of compassion as well. He is patient. He wants all his children to turn their gaze toward him so they may hear his voice and be led in the paths of peace.
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion’” (Hebrews 3:12-15).
Sometimes God speaks in order to correct, and we would do well to heed his correction instead of hardening our hearts. However, the essence of a relationship, especially that of a parent/child, is not found in discipline. It is found in the every day interactions. If I always smiled at my children but never spoke to them, they may sense my pleasure, but the depth of our relationship would be quite limited. God speaks to his children.
What has he said to you lately?
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7).