My right ear is better than my left. Sometimes when there’s lots of background noise, I can lose track of what’s being said and have to look quizzically and say “Sorry, what?” This can also happen when reading the Bible.
There is a recurring conversation that seems to cross all cultural boundaries and ways of thinking. On the trip I just returned home from, it was a pretty frequent topic. The conversation I have in mind has to do with a question: “What do I do when I don’t hear from God?”
Now, the way you look at that question has a lot to do with your own personal theology (oh yes, you do have such a thing). If you ask a group of 4 people to describe “hearing from God” you’re highly likely to have at least 4 different answers.
But let’s just say, for the sake of this post, we’re talking about dryness in your reading of the Bible. (I hear that a lot.)
There are many reasons that when we read, nothing jumps up off the page, lots of those reasons are just circumstantial. It often has less to do with God not speaking and more to do with our personal situation creating enough interference that the message is just not coming through clearly. Don’t freak out. Just keep reading. The signal will clear up. It comes back to the whole sail-row-drift-sink metaphor. Just keep rowing.
See, the worst thing you can do is give up. That’s when we really stop hearing and start drifting or sinking.
So, if you’re not hearing anything special or particular for you, fight off the natural inclination to quit. Keep rowing. Or as those kids sang in that famous garden “take up and read, take up and read.”
Or, keep listening, and you’ll hear. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but keep reading. You’ll hear. He is speaking. That’s why it’s called a discipline.
[Photo: nearing sunset, somewhere west of Johannesburg, South Africa at 35,000 feet.]