Speak to Me

“I mean, the Pastor doesn’t even speak to me!”  said the grocery cashier.  This line resonated in my heart all day following a brief conversation I had while making my purchase.  Somehow, the fact that I am married to a pastor of a local church surfaced in our conversation, and from that tidbit of information was launched a monologue centered on her decision to leave her church.  The statement above was the one thing she could not move beyond and therefore, the reason she felt she must attend somewhere else.  After thinking about this statement for some time and reminding my husband to be sure to engage people, I suddenly realized the importance of such a simple thing.

What this woman was really saying was she just wanted to be acknowledged by the pastor.  What he said to her really wasn’t the issue; it was more the act of speaking directly to her, which then validated her presence and existence. 

Many times, I pray for God to SPEAK TO ME.  When I am distraught with emotion and bogged down with worry, I desperately cry out and ask Him to SPEAK TO ME! Like David in Psalm 30:8-9, “To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy; What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit?’” (NIV) I want to hear His gentle words of encouragement and compassion.  At times when decisions need to be made and answers need to come quickly, I beg Him to SPEAK TO ME! Verse 10 of that same chapter says, “Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me, O Lord, be my help.  I need to hear words of wisdom and direction.  During crisis situations and relational angst, I implore Him to SPEAK TO ME!  Earlier, in verse 6, David states, “When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” O Lord, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.” Instances like this require words of comfort to flow over my soul like honey.

When distracted, I lose sight of how He does SPEAK TO ME, not just situational, but constantly and all around me.  Nowhere else in the Bible are there more beautiful words chained together than in the Psalms.  When I desire to hear His voice and to receive the validation of my existence, I read these beautiful words in chapter 29:3-9,

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars. . .

The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.

The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.”

I failed to ask if the cashier had even approached her pastor.  Were her expectations of his behavior realistic?  Was she considering the pastor’s own circumstances?  Perhaps, he was having a personal crisis.  Had she even attempted to make friendly conversation with this man, or had she just assumed it was his place to move first? Was her judgment of this man as “unfriendly” based on a one-time encounter or was her decision to leave coming from a deeper place of hurt?  The diagnosis of her pastor’s unfriendliness could be completely accurate and changes in his attitude may have been necessary, but he could have been completely unaware of his demeanor.  Some words of gentle encouragement could go a long way and open his eyes to his perceived behavior.  Her decision to leave the church could be based on a misunderstanding that could easily be rectified through loving communication. 

Perhaps, we spend too much time waiting to hear something specific, unconsciously drowning out all the rest.   Or do we allow ourselves to become immobilized when we cannot hear His voice because it is drowned out by the voices of others?  Maybe, we hear His voice, but not the words we prefer.    We can choose to ignore what we hear and continue to expect Him to speak all the while disregarding what He is saying.  Our movements and actions can then become rooted in our own expectations, motivated only by our wounded perceptions of God. 

Going back to Psalm 29, God has a voice that He utilizes over heaven and earth.  The beauty of this passage is reflected in certain words such as; over, powerful, majestic, strikes, shakes, and twists, all of which refer to the voice of the Lord and how He uses that voice.  How then, can we deny the fact that He speaks? 

He does SPEAK TO ME.

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