a need

In a conversation with Heather this past weekend (while we were out in the cabin celebrating our anniversary) the topic of "hearing God" came up. That's been something of greater interest to me recently, a part of "the prophetic aspect of faith." It's also been an area of deep struggle and confusion for me this past month, since the miscarriage. Because I certainly didn't see that coming. I actually thought God was telling me we wouldn't lose the baby. Being so wrong about that hit me very hard.

The obvious response to that kind of experience is to just accept that we can only "hear God" very imperfectly, if at all. And learn to live with that.

But I've found myself unable to let go of the desire for a more prophetic hearing, despite the pain and confusion, almost to the point of feeling that I can't let it go. And not quite knowing why, either. Talking with Heather, though, I think I realized that there may be an important reason, beyond some fearful grasping for certitude or presumptuous claim to know more than any human being can know. I don't think it's just a desire, but actually a need. Because the less we follow the well-worn paths of life, and stay within the boundaries set by other people, the more we need to hear the guidance that God is giving us. The further out of the boat we are, the more we need to feel Jesus hand grasping ours. When the people around us are not showing us the way forward (but rather yelling for us to turn back) then we need to hear God's voice clearly.

So if I can't learn to live without it, what do I need to do? I guess I need to focus more on discernment. Clearly I have not heard God well enough lately. I remember thinking before that one unique aspect of God's way of speaking is that he doesn't have to speak only by one means, or one mouth. God can get through to us by speaking from many different sides, through people and circumstances and prayer, on and on. It's easy to fool ourselves with voices in our own heads. God's voice is much deeper, and much more interwoven through all of reality. I need to pay more attention to that and be more discerning. I really need to.