(Note: This was a rant-turned-ramble-turned-kindafreeverseything I wrote at 4 in the morning. Just to warn you.)
This is a very inconvenient fact, and we Christians have been doing our level best to work around this for years. In America, we’ve built up a whole defense system around the idea, feeling quite under attack by it.
Does He speak? Is the question. And Christian Americans try not to answer.
We hem and haw in a pattern that sounds like this:
Does He speak? After a fashion.
He speaks, yes, but not in the way that you’re thinking.
What am I thinking? You know, speaking aloud. Actually saying words, in fact.
In symbols then, pictures perhaps? Ah, well, that would be visions. So yes, sort of, except no, not really. I mean, He used to, it’s in the Bible and I believe that and everything, but He doesn’t do that anymore.
So how does He speak? Through the Bible. That’s why they call it His Word. Or through people, or circumstances. Sometimes with feelings, but you have to be careful about that…or some people believe in “tongues” and things, but my pastor says that God doesn’t do that anymore because He doesn’t have to now that the New Testament is finished.
And here is where it gets complicated, and theology differs depending on what denomination you subscribe to and if you think feelings are more important or the Bible is, or if you think God is done speaking or maybe that He might have more to say but not until the End Times which by the way we may or may not be living in and doyouknowifyou’llgotoheavenwhentherapturecomes?
There are Problems.
Like when John talks about the Word of God, he’s not talking about ink and paper, but the Person.
What does it mean if Jesus is the Word?
Does He speak?
Not anymore, we say.
Why would He stop speaking?
There are Problems.
Like does the Bible really tell you whether you should be a pastor in Iowa or a missionary in Hong Kong?
Does it tell you where you should live?
Or who you should marry?
Or why your aunt has cancer?
Does He speak? Yes, but not to us.
We love to hear stories of visions and words, real words said aloud – but not from here. God works differently in America, you see. Someone in the Middle East can see a vision of Jesus and become a modern-day Paul. Someone in Africa can Hear His Voice and bring thousands to Know Him. What a wonderful story. How strange that it never happens anywhere reliable.
We muzzle Him.
Does He speak? Yes, but we will not hear Him.
Or if we will, we’ll pretend that we don’t, for fear we might be crazy. (Are we people hearing voices in our heads, telling us what to do?)
Or if we will, we’ll assume we made it up. (Is God real enough to speak to us?)
Or if we will, we’ll stop up our ears, and blame it on a devil, dragging us towards temptation. (Do we know God so little as to confuse His voice with that of our accuser?)
Speaking with words! The very idea!
Does He speak? No.
We don’t think so.
We hope not.
(We don’t want to hear something we don’t want to do.)
(We don’t want to be embarrassed.)
(We don’t want to be afraid. Well, not more afraid, anyway.)
Can God speak?
I believe that.
But He won’t. (Who am I to tell God what to do?)
Listen. Listen. Listen.
Prayer is not a one-way conversation. America is not godless, nor godly enough to be ignored by Him. I cannot claim to believe in a God who can speak if I think anyone who hears Him is insane.
I am not big enough to stop Him from speaking. Even from speaking here.
Does He speak?
Does He? Yes.
He speaks in words.
Even if we won’t hear.