Hearing God’s voice is more about deepening relationship than completed tasks. Some people I admire for their intimate walk with God tell me that the voice that was once so clear actually becomes softer over time. Sometimes it feels like the sound of silence. When they lean in, waiting for specific direction, all they hear is “Closer.”
“We stand, when we are young, on the sunny slope among the pines, and look across an unknown country to the mountains. There are clouds, but they are edged with light. We do not fear as we dip into the valley; we do not fear the clouds. Thank God for the splendid fearlessness of youth.
And as for older travelers whom the Lord has led over the hill and the dale, they have not been given the spirit of fear. They think of the way they have come since they stood on that bright hillside, and their word is always this: There are reasons and reasons for hope and for happiness, and never one for fear.”
– Amy Carmichael
“To respect a mystery is to make way for the answer.”
~ Criss Jami
I’m thinking of instituting a film rating system based on trombones. A chick-flick can be rated for emotional content by the number of tissues used. An epic film requires a score written for trombones and some sort of electronically produced bass. A medieval clash in the forest – one trombone. An interplanetary collision that rocks the universe? Five trombones.
I think I am finally beginning to understand something. After several days of watching movies chosen by three generations of men in my family, I felt like I was suffering from PTSD. Last evening I holed up in a bedroom with a book while explosions and monster noises emanating from the new sound system in the basement shook the house. I felt exhausted. Every nerve jangled on high alert. (Discovery: God does not issue real grace for fictional film crises.)
The movies this week had similar themes. The world is dark. Evil has a death grip on hope. You can’t always tell the good guys from the bad guys. Just when a protagonist has eluded certain annihilation or won a battle against impossible odds, another heavily armed enemy steps into the hallway or lands with a dishware-shaking thud in front of a disabled space vehicle.
I don’t know about the main character or characters, but I am tired after just watching – and I haven’t even been shot, stabbed, punched or launched through the air by a creature with fingers as thick as my thigh. 10,000 may fall at his right side, but somehow this lone misunderstood guy (or this group of oddly gifted last bastions of truth and right) keeps going.
I watch my grandson who, as a teenager, has recently been admitted to the fraternity of watchers of movies with adult ratings and parental guidance warnings. As a grandmother I want to protect his innocence as long as possible. You see, the years between us mean that I have seen the consequences of evil. For him, it’s mostly theoretical. I know too much, most of that knowledge garnered the hard way. My scars bear witness.
But I can’t protect him. He is already surrounded by absurd philosophies and circumstances my parents never dreamed of. He is now the one preparing to take up the sword. He is becoming a man with a growing drive to fight evil, injustice, and hypocrisy. (God help the parent of a teen with a radar for hypocrisy!) The enemy of our souls may try to hinder this upcoming generation by throwing deception and distraction, but many of them know there is more than hopeless acceptance of corruption. They see the light on the horizon. The hope of eternity is planted in their hearts. They are warriors.
The mission is not impossible. God equips his children with unlikely weapons and powerful gifts that include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. As the angel Gabriel said to a girl who was probably still a teenager: “Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God!”
This grandmother never stops praying for wisdom and that they will be protected from temptation to fight anyone but the enemy in any other way but God’s way.
Of the Messiah, the prophet Isaiah wrote:
His leadership will bring such prosperity as you’ve never seen before—
sustainable peace for all time.
This child: God’s promise to David—a throne forever, among us,
to restore sound leadership that cannot be perverted or shaken.
He will ensure justice without fail and absolute equity. Always.
The intense passion of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,
will carry this to completion.
(Isaiah 9:7 The Voice)
Be careful who you follow. There is only one Messiah. His name is Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace
Let the sunrise of your love end our dark night.
Break through our clouded dawn again!
Only you can satisfy our hearts,
filling us with songs of joy to the end of our days.
(Psalm 90:14 TPT)
Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown.
Hope makes you see God’s guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness.