In the first few minutes of our wedding video, the dear friend holding the video camera asks if I slept well.
I turn from the mirror with a half-smile. “Actually, I had a mental jukebox going in my head. So I went to sleep to Hillsongs’ ‘Forever’ and I woke up to Michael Buble… in my head.”
I laughed to myself the other day as I remembered this — laughed because I’d happened to be thinking of something else: in all these years, I’ve never been quite able to put words to the experience of seeking and hearing the voice of God. It’s certainly not like hearing James Earl Jones in one’s ear.
No blasting gales, no earthquakes. On the other hand, I’ve been hearing songs in my head since I was little, and it didn’t take me long to discover I wasn’t the only one.
We think of music and sing along to it, with no need for earphones, or bang our foreheads against the nearest wall trying to stop the 300th iteration of “Let It Go.” For some reason it isn’t strange to us that a song can enter in to our consciousness and play itself out, though not a single note is audible.
So it has been with the voice of God for me, in many quieter moments. (See yesterday’s post for how I’ve been learning seek Him for guidance.) It isn’t a perfect analogy, like most analogies about Him, but it is like “hearing” a thought or remembrance that breaks upon my consciousness, like a freshly discerned lyric that now makes sense, like a strain of an old melody I’d forgotten carried in on night air.
I have only heard God speak near-audibly once, in a small University Chapel during a Wednesday night prayer meeting.
It had been a hard week, the kind that rolled pressure, fear, regret, and disapproval into one roiling mess, and I was spent.
My burdens rose with the whispers and murmurs of other private prayers in the room, and after about an hour, I had nothing left to add. So I sat wearily and desperately listening for a word of life.
At that point, with everything empty, two words suddenly stood out very clearly in my mind, as unmistakably as if someone had spoken them to me while I was sleeping and I’d woken up to their echo ringing in my ears. Two words:
That was all.
You’re free to laugh, friends. I did. The corners of my eyes are crinkling now as I remember it. This isn’t the confession of a prophet, and not tantamount to the revealed Word of God. It’s simply what I believe to have been the perfectly timed word of the Father to His child — because if anyone in the world needed to hear those two words, phrased that particular way, it was me.
“Be feisty,” innocent of any sexist or patronizing connotations, came to my ear at the wavelength at which others understand “pluck” or “gumption.” It came at me with the air of a piercing tune awakening long-lost yearnings.
I needed to be reminded that there are such things as beauty, nobility of soul, and untainted truth to live out.
I needed to hear: “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for I am with you,” that there is an unparalleled beauty and strength to be found in a gentle and quiet spirit, and that a whole harvest awaits our good, hard work.
Those are the words that came flooding back as I wondered whether I’d heard Him correctly. Words to rouse the spirit and make paths to enter the battle afresh. And as they resounded, they expanded into a new cry.
Live what you know, daughter. Fight the good fight; discharge your work with the highest excellence you can muster, and live in fear of no man. Carry the inexpressible and glorious joy of meeting Christ within you and know that there is no beauty on earth that astounds or captivates mankind like a woman walking in freedom with Christ… and do not be surprised that it strikes some like the stench of death. Laugh without stinting and give yourself to the depths of sorrow when you should, and above all, live, live as one whose life is not her own: live, not like a mouse but a lion.
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
– Elvina M. Hall, 1865
This post is part of a 31 day series about Loving God as an Introvert.