Archives for posts with tag: opinion

hallmark: SPRINGFIELD, OR - OCTOBER 28, 2015: Hallmark greeting cards selection at a grocery store supermarket.

Hallmark Father’s Day card: “Dad, thanks to your lectures I never change horses in the middle of a job worth doing, I know the squeaky wheel gets the worm, and I never count my chickens until I’ve walked a mile in their shoes … And you thought I wasn’t listening.”

It is easy to “hear” something different from what is really said. Sometimes it is because we are distracted and we simply misunderstand. On other occasions we “hear” what we want to hear; our mind is already made up. Language, culture, experience, age and a variety of other things facilitate or prevent good communication.

The Burning Bush

I believe the same things that make it difficult for us receive messages accurately from human sources also come into play when God speaks to us. God conversed with Adam in the first garden. God told Noah to build an ark. God spoke to Moses in a burning bush. Paul heard His voice on the way to Damascus.

And I believe God speaks to us in these modern times.

Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When He Speaks by [Shirer, Priscilla]

“Hearing God speak” may mean different things to different people. God treats each of us as unique individuals. None of us are cookie-cutter people. Because of that, God doesn’t “speak” the same way to all of us. Throughout history God has spoken to people in many ways.

My wife is often the voice of God to me. Oh, she is not some mystical creature with a special connection to God but I am convinced that her opinion and wisdom has provided divine guidance, comfort, and assurance. There are others throughout my life that have also served that role.

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Hearing the “voice of God” through another human being can be most effective and most difficult. It seems illogical that mere humans would be the medium for the Divine Other to communicate with creatures like us. The psalmist asks ““Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us weaklings?”(Psalms 8:4, CEV).

An interesting story in the Bible is found in the 18th chapter of Genesis. “One hot summer afternoon Abraham was sitting by the entrance to his tent near the sacred trees of Mamre, when the Lord appeared to him. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. He quickly ran to meet them” and offered hospitality. As they relaxed and enjoyed the refreshments one of them told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah were going to have a son. Sarah overheard the conversation and laughed to herself because both of them were very old.God had promised Abraham and his wife Sarah that they would have a son and their descendants would become a great nation as numerous as the stars. The problem was that both were now too old to have children. (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:14, 17:15-22, 18:9-15). – Slide 1

Remember that at the beginning of the story we are told that “the Lord appeared” to Abraham but the narrative said that Abraham “saw three men” standing nearby. I don’t know what either of them looked like but apparently they looked like ordinary human beings to Abraham. The guest who predicted that Sarah would have a baby is identified as God. Responding to Sarah’s laughter the guest says, “I am the Lord! There is nothing too difficult for me.”

The author of Hebrews in the New Testament admonishes us “to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” And who knows, God might even show up.

Jamie Jenkins

trust

With a hint of irritation in his voice my doctor said, “I wish you would trust my medical advice.” A month earlier he had prescribed medicine for a problem I was experiencing which had worsened. When I told him I had decided not to take the medication, his response was a polite way of saying, “Why do you pay to see me if you are not going to do what I recommend?”

I have been reasonably healthy all my life and have taken very little medication but I have seen others who have had serious reactions to some medication. After getting the prescription filled I read all the possible side effects and was frightened at the possibilities. So I decided not to take the medicine. I should not have been surprised when my condition did not improve.

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Why would anyone consult with a physician whom they did not trust? Why would one incur the expense of a doctor’s visit if you were not going to follow the advice you were given? Why pay for prescription medicine if you are not going to take it? Why return to the doctor when your condition did not improve if you had not followed instructions previously given?

I understood.

As a parent I have often wondered why a child would seek your counsel and then ignore it. Why ask for my advice if you don’t intend to take it seriously? At the same time I understand that asking for advice does not necessarily mean one is going to agree and follow the directions. Still I think the knowledge and wisdom gained from my experience should have some value. When it is not heeded, I feel a little like my doctor.

After a lifetime of serving people I am not surprised that everything I say and suggest is not accepted and acted upon. I also understand that my opinion and perspective is not always the best for every circumstance. In fact, sometimes my advice is not helpful at all.

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I suspect that God often feels like my doctor. I ask God to guide me. To help me discern the right path. To help me behave appropriately. To do what is right. Then I ignore God’s advice received either through prayer, scripture, or the counsel of others and do what I want anyway. Surely God says, “I wish you would trust me.”

However, God, like my doctor, doesn’t give up on me. Thank God (and my doctor) that I am given another chance to get it right.

Jamie Jenkins