Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm 10-1 because He seems to have 10-3'd so I'm 10-65 until He says I'm 10-69

I confess. I am one of those strange people that believes God really speaks to human beings. To many that makes me neurotic. Do you think I care? Nope. Couldn't care less. Because, in my humble opinion, a life well lived is judged not by man but by his Creator. At the moment nobody can fire me and I'm used to being judged so I might as well tell you where I'm coming from. I suspect my "hits" on this blogspot might drop but, hey, nobody is paying me here either. So here goes.

God speaks. Jesus said so. Over and over again we hear Him saying profound truths followed by the phrase "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 11: 15 would be the first example. Jesus was not talking about physical ears. The floppy kind with funny little things we call "lobes" hanging down from them. He was talking about spiritual ears. Ears of the inside variety. You get them when you become "reborn." Again, that's the terminology of Jesus, not Ron. So don't blame me if you don't like it. He said it and I truly believe He meant it. He is refering to His followers, believers who still their physical activity, quiet their soul, and wait patiently for God to move in their hearts ... spirit's ... in a way that they can recognize. So no I'm not talking about an audible voice. God is God and He can speak that way if He wants to but He has never done so to me. I'm kind of glad about that. I don't think I would survive it.

I remember the olden days of CB radio's. They were the precurser to cell phones. I drove a school bus while in college to suppliment our family income. Nothing quite like 2 jobs, a full time college schedule and a baby on the way. Our busses were owned and operated by a company called "DuPage Motor Coach." They subcontracted for local schools and I majored on high schools in the western suburbs. Every bus had a radio with a dedicated frequency to our home base. My bus was number 171. She was a real dog. The shiny new buses had automatic transmissions. Mine had a 5 speed and could barely make it up some hills. But good old 171 was not the problem. The students were the problem. I usually get along with kids. It's the nature of being a youth pastor. But some of these kids are probably on their second or third terms at Levinworth by now. I caught them doing all sorts of fun things. They tried unscrewing the back seats and turning them around to face the back of the bus. They tried stuffing notebook paper into the rear heaters to set the bus on fire. And they always thought I was too blind or stupid to figure out what was going on. (Side note: that's what that big huge mirror is for over the driver's seat. To bust the dumb kids.) So when I saw them trying to mess me over or turn their fellow riders into crispy students I would simply pick up my trusty old microphone, depress the button and say, "171 to Westmont." When they would reply I would ask for a Dean to meet me at whatever school I was driving too. When we arrived there the dean would inevitably be waiting. I'd just sit with my grown-up smirk as the offenders were toted off to face justice. Sweet. Sometimes you would think that things were awfully quite on the radio and you would ask for a 10-32. That simply means, "would somebody please respond if you can hear me so I'll know my radio is working?" If nobody responded you were left all alone with a bus load of terrorist wannabee's. If somebody did respond you would most likely live to fight another day.

God speaks. I listen. God is quiet. I listen. And then I wonder. Is He still there? I pick up my pretend microphone and I say, "171 to God. Can I please have a 10-32?" And I wait. Sometimes He gets back to me right away. Sometimes my "hearing ears" remain deaf. In those moments I wonder if I am left alone in a world of mean, evil, corruption and danger. That is when I have to trust. I have to believe that everything He told me before is still true. He told me that He will never leave me. That means He always hears. Always. I am never left alone. It is not easy trusting in the silence.

I was at the Bears/ Rams game a month or so ago. My cell phone rang and it was from an old friend that I really wanted to talk to. I let him leave a message and I walked out into the concourse of the dome to call him back. I got through to him but all I was able to say was, "Hey, I'm at a football game and I can't hear. Is it alright if I call you back in the morning?" I strained to hear but was not able to make out his reply. Then he hung up. For a second I wondered what he said. Then I remembered my friends heart. I knew he was my friend. I knew he loved me. I knew he understood. I could not hear him because of the noise level around me but I knew that he said "ok" and hung up. I knew he was not mad. He is my friend and I trust him.

That's the way it is with God sometimes. Sometimes He isn't really quiet at all when I speak to Him. Sometimes I just cannot hear Him because of the ambient noise. At those times I have to trust His heart. I know He loves me. I know He promised He would be here for me. So even though we are not communicating very well I KNOW it's all ok. My request for a 10-32 didn't work out too well but no matter. He is dependable. He is worthy of my trust. He died for me and He's not going to turn His back on me now.

You've probably guessed about what I'm getting at. God seems to be very quiet lately. I'm not clear on whether He is not speaking ... just letting me remember how to trust ... or whether the ambient noise in my heart is too loud for me to make out His still small voice. I think it is the latter and not the former. But I am not sure.

Here is what I am sure of. He is good. God is good. All of the time. I started walking with Him when I was 13. I am now 51. You know what that means, don't you? It means I'm in for keeps. I'm not turning back now. If I never hear another Word from Him I'm going to keep on trusting. I am THAT SURE of what He has told and taught me before. I will ... I am ... staking my life on it.

I've been resting and recovering for 8 weeks and 2 days now. I want to go back to serving Him full time. All of His actions tell me that He is not ready for me to. I am not the patient type. But I do not have to be comfortable with obeying to be obedient. I just have to do it. I trust Him. He provides in amazing ways. I am not at all worried about that. I just want to be used. I want to feel His pleasure again. I want to feel His Spirit work through me. De-stressing and recovering can be tedious. It can be trying. It can also be an order from my King. So until I hear I will obey the last thing He told me to do.

I have "ears to hear" and I will do what I heard. No turning back. In it for the long run. I am bought with a price. He owns me. I am His. And in the words of one of my hero's, Martin Luther, "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me, Amen!"