listen to it

The heavens declare the glory of God, 
   and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 
Day to day pours out speech, 
   and night to night reveals knowledge. 
There is no speech, nor are there words, 
   whose voice is not heard. 
Their voice goes out through all the earth, 
   and their words to the end of the world. 

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. 
   Madame Day holds classes every morning, 
      Professor Night lectures each evening. 
 Their words aren’t heard, 
      their voices aren’t recorded, 
   But their silence fills the earth: 
      unspoken truth is spoken everywhere. 

— psalm 19:1-4, english standard version/the message

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i’ve had a bit of a hard time lately, as hard times in this part of my life go. oh, it is not hard in the real world sense. it’s been hard in the sense that i glued my eyes in backward in their sockets and they’ve been spending so much time looking at the insides of my mind that i don’t know how to understand what’s going on in there, or how to burn out the things i know (don’t always like to admit) are not true.*

in other words, i’ve not been seeing and hearing clearly.

when i get that way it’s as if i have cataracts — my view of God gets awfully fuzzy and, while things aren’t so bad, maybe … nothing is quite right.

then yesterday i came across one of my posts with an excerpt from n.d. wilson’s “notes from the tilt-a-whirl.” this part leaped out at me again:

but why would any Christian claim that God has stopped talking? did He speak the world into existence? does matter exist apart from Him? is it still here? are you still here? then He is still speaking.

step outside your front door and look at today’s stage. speak. God will reply. He will speak to you. He gave you sense. use them. He will parade His art. He will give you a scene, a setting for the day. He will give you conflict to overcome, opportunities for your character to grow or fail.

but do not expect Him to speak in english. and do not expect Him to stay on whatever topic you might choose. His attention is everywhere and no story should be easy, as every reader knows.

you are on your porch. look at the blue sky.

He can speak in english if He wants to, of course. apparently He doesn’t always. that doesn’t mean He’s mute. doesn’t mean He has His hands over His ears. doesn’t mean He’s waiting to be talked at before He’ll pick up the conversation.

He is here with me as i type and He knows what i’ll write before it arranges itself in my mind. He is, and my not listening won’t have any effect on Him.

i was tired this afternoon, tired and bored. all i wanted to do was go home, eat ice cream and go to sleep for a long time. this weekend’s a busy one, though, and i’ve sorely neglected cleaning and other necessities of life. i decided to get a cup of coffee after work to jolt my brain awake and get as much done between then and an evening event as possible.

the map i carry in my mind is a little sketchy, and i don’t always take the most efficient route between two points. i was stuck at a traffic light, wishing i had my coffee already and berating myself for driving such a long way out of my way … but then i noticed the cloud of birds swooping, breaking, soaring and reforming, silhouetted against the late afternoon light.

then I’m spinning and I’m diving
like a cloud of starlings

just like that, only i don’t know if they were starlings.

and what i heard was something like this:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. — matthew 10:29-31

i got the sparrow verses entwined with the lilies of the field verses a little in my ruminations, but it came out truthfully, i think.

“He cares about the sparrows. He cares about you, kid. He’s there speaking; you just have to listen.”

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; 
   God will help her when morning dawns. 
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.  — psalm 46


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*i speak metaphorically. my metaphor is drawn from — well, somewhere.