Day 4 of 40 Days with Wesley by Rueben P. Job (2017).
Prayer is our lifeline, a means by which we bond to God and garner heavenly direction for our lives. The prayer says, “…I come to make myself fully available to you, your will and your way. Speak to me gently and clearly, for I am yours and desire to hear, understand, and be obedient to your slightest whisper. Speak, for I am listening.” Job starts his reflection with the statement, “Jesus sought silence and solitude to pray and seek his beloved Abba’s direction. No matter where we are in our busy and noisy world, we can do the same, but it will take practice, patience and perseverance.” Certainly it takes discipline to make quite time with God. John Wesley set aside hours each day. And, no doubt it significantly impacted his life and his relationship with God. If you are able to do this, please keep doing it.
Although it is true that God speaks to us in the silence and solitude, I think it is important to note that God also speaks to us in the chaos, so long as we are listening. I grew up in a relatively small farm house with five siblings. Silence and solitude were not a part of our vocabulary. Although it is true that I spent most of my prayer time in the silence before meals and before falling asleep, God was also present and speaking to me through singing—ok shouting—of songs we learned in church choir¸ through interactions my mom had with neighbors in the midst of our quarreling, and through learning to reconcile differences. I admit that it is easier to focus on listening to God when I am still. But, since having kids, I have come to realize that I cannot carve out enough quite time at times of the day when I am alert.
For years I wrestled with my priorities, my reality, and God’s expectations of me, always feeling inadequate. And, then I read the book, Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt by Renita J. Weems. She set me free from my guilt for not making enough quiet time. She writes about her journey of acknowledging the reality of her life. She describes asking God and listening to God to speak to her “amidst the clutter of family, the noise of pots and pans, the din of a hungry toddler screaming from the backseat during rush hour traffic, and the hassles of the workplace.” She expected God to talk to her through the routine of her life and she sought to listen to God in the ordinary aspects of her day. And, she discovered that God wasn’t silent; God was speaking to her in different ways that in the past.
If God is omnipresent and desires an intimate relationship with each of us, then God is present in the midst of the noise and chaos as well as the silence. So, of course God is available to speak to us through it all. The question I have to ask myself is not whether God can speak, but, “Am I tuned in to listen?” As Job goes on to say in the reflection, God speaks to us via many different means. How is God speaking to you today? What stood out to you in the reading?