When God Speaks
First thing I think of when the subject of joy comes up is my grandchildren. When they are very young, falling asleep on my chest. As they get older, coming in the front door, running to me with a big smile, for a hug, or watching them playing together, with one another, when we all get together. That is a joy that warms the heart, joy of the most natural sort.
On Sunday morning, looking down the pew and seeing my darling wife, my wonderful kids, their God-sent spouses and my grandkids, a joy that often brings tears to my eyes as I contemplate what a huge blessing that is. I can only thank and praise God for that most extraordinary gift in those moments.
When I realize God is watching over me as I go about my everyday busyness or realize He helped me in that very instant, either by preventing me from messing up whatever I am working on or giving me an idea of how to do something, that is so perfect that I know it is Him. Knowing that he is always there, that is comfort and joy.
Now, on to the time of my greatest joy, maybe predictably, it came in a time of, if not my greatest sorrow, close. It was a time of darkness for many people in our previous church. There was injustice coming from the upper leadership of the denomination, and our church was being blown up by the outside leaders exercising their authority.
I was thrust into a position of apparent leadership when ten of us were selected for a steering committee and asked to attend a meeting just before the Annual Meeting. The Central District Superintendent planned to remove our duly elected Board at that Annual Meeting and replace them with us. We were tasked with leading the church forward out of the mess the Central District, in my opinion, had created. I was humbled and flattered to be a part of this group due to these people being those that I had the most respect for.
To say I felt the weight of this responsibility would be a huge understatement. I was the only non-member of the church in this group, non-member because I could not in good conscience take the oath necessary to become a member. This strengthened the belief that God had put me there for a reason. I knew that we were all deep, deep in prayer over this, communally and individually.
After a couple of months, the group had made no progress on a vision for the way forward. One night, pondering how that could be, I entered prayer, deeper than I had ever been, before or since. Sitting alone in the darkness, literal and figurative, asking questions, making statements about the situation. Suddenly, He called me on one of my statements and for just a few moments, I found myself in conversation with God, an actual back and forth! He challenged my assumptions, He corrected me and He affirmed me. He was/is so unbelievably gentle, tender and succinct. The first time that happened, to discover that He does still speak to us, that joy, THAT JOY, it put me on my knees, uncontrollably sobbing in absolute gratitude, humility and awe.
I don’t have a lot of conversations with God, nor long conversations, but He does speak to me. There are some who would say I am delusional; I’m OK with that. Do you believe He still speaks to us? Do you want Him to?
Mike is a retired UAW member, married for 43 years to his dearest friend and companion, Sue. Together they raised two children who have given them four of the most consistent joys in their lives.