Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Listening, Hearing...Doing

Unexpected things happen in the most ordinary places.  There on I-90, just before exit 2 (Fuller Rd. – the never ending construction mess, but that’s another story), a prayer was answered.  Many prayers, actually.  The earth didn’t shake.  But I heard the voice of God, down in my soul, and I knew it was Him.  (I double checked with scripture later, since we fickle characters can get some wild ideas leaping about in this masterpiece of gray matter.  Everything must line up with the written word.)  There it was in the book of Jude, just about word for word, from the hearing of my heart:
“Keep yourself in the Love of God.” Jude 1:21
Day after day I have been asking to listen and hear.  On auto pilot at 65mph, my mind was wandering, probably thinking about vanilla cream filled donuts or the uncomfortable hole in my sock.  Then, when I wasn’t expecting it, the words billowed up from the depths, answering prayers cried, shouted, whispered and argued from January to April.  I needed to hear my Jesus speak, and He chose the time.  I held on like a dog with a bone.
Many of my recent blog posts have recounted my struggle with loss and suffering. Writing it down helps me sort it out, and hopefully helps some of you reading here make some sense of your own trouble. In particular, I have discovered a new term: “ambiguous loss”, the kind experienced by those who have a “missing” person in their life, without the closure normally afforded to those who grieve.  In the midst of finding my way through this uncharted territory, I have acted a lot like Job, albeit without as much cause for my wailing.  I have complained, railed and accused.  But I have also found, like Job, that what I really want, what I really need, is to hear God’s voice in the storm.  I can’t demand it.  But I can ask…He wants me to ask.  And at just the right time, when I’m ready to hear, He pulls the cork out of my ears and I know that I know it’s Him. Sadly, I am no Christian  mystic, but there are those moments when  “deep calls to deep” and for all my foolish ways He meets me.  That’s wild grace.  
So now it's onward to the business of being a doer of that word.  Believe me friends, this is tricky stuff for someone like me who forgets to take the chicken out to thaw.  Keeping yourself in the love of God requires intentionality.  On the one hand, only God can keep us in the love of God, by His own mercy and grace.  On the other hand, (there’s always another hand, isn’t there?), we’ve got something to do here.  When I asked God “HOW?” I looked back at another scripture to help me with the first steps:

 “This is the work of God; to believe in the One He has sent.”  John 6:29 

So I’ll let you know as I go along how I fare with walking this particular word out.  Believing is without a doubt the starting line.  My friend Job, in between rants, said: “I know my redeemer lives…” Job 19:25.  He exercised faith, even while he didn’t get it. And when he finally heard God he shut his mouth.  All the suffering in the world can’t muffle the sound of the voice of love.  It’s water for the soul in the desert. Now, to KEEP myself in it...
On a lighter note, (it’s not hard to get lighter than Job) here are a few news items for my friends on the pilgrim road:
1-      Smitty got a new job!  We are all cake here, frosted in gratitude.  Just in time, too…titanium man can’t be without insurance.
2-      Hannah turned 17.  She’s liking her job as a kitchen worker at the nursing home, except when she’s burning herself on hamburger grease.  We took her to the Olive Garden for her birthday and she did not finish her pasta.  That, my friends, is a first.
3-      David’s got trouble, he’s got terrible, terrible trouble, with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool… (Only 3 weeks until my baby boy plays Harold Hill in the Our Savior’s Lutheran School production of “The Music Man”).
4-      Joseph is contemplating a haircut.  The Mayans must be right; this has to be the end of the world…
5-      Eureka!  It’s clean under my kitchen sinkJ  Gotta love Clorox Clean Up!
6-  Here's my Hercules by the ocean.  A cause for praise and gratitude...a few years ago this man was a dead man.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,

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