Tap, tap, tap . . .
God is continually seeking us; trying to get our attention. Tapping on our shoulder - but mostly we are too busy; we do not notice nor do we care. We slough it off. Someone else needs our attention, jostling us in the crowd and the business of life.
But God wants our attention. How does He do it? How does He speak?
Through accident and illness. Through the beauty and wonder of all that's around us. Through our built-in curiosity about life’s meaning, about why things happen: both bad and good things, as we pause, if ever we do, to consider what’s life’s purpose? - what happens when I die?
In life, God speaks when we are making important decisions. He helps particularly those who believe He's there, who trust Him, want to hear from Him. We want to follow Him as best one may.
So, we make lists of pros and cons of taking this path or that path. We talk to close friends and those who are wise, in our life circles. We weight the differences and then wade in, hoping we’ve made the right decision.
God speaks in our everyday, in the circumstances that confront us, through the people that he brings with whom we may share life, at home, in our work, as we engage in social and sports events, in fellowship with colleagues and contemporaries in all of life’s and this planet's joys and sorrows.
God speaks through His Word, the Bible. As we read, ponder, contemplate, and try on and try out its implications, in application and obedience. As we look back, reflecting on what we did and what happened from the fruit of our trust and obedience, we begin to see the patterns of God’s guidance, the rhythms of grace, the results of our trust or our failing to trust, of our obedience or non-obedience.
In the Bible, God spoke through appearances - or theophanies, when God’s own self was made manifest, when God appeared to His creatures right smack-dab in the midst of His creation. God appeared in a bush that burned but was not consumed. Moses was witness to that. God appeared to Abraham one day as he sat outside his tent, somewhere in the ancient Middle East. One of the three men who approached him and spoke to him of a coming son of promise to be born to him, may have been our Lord Christ Himself, accompanied by two angels.
In the Bible, God spoke in times past by the prophets. He came to them in visions, gave them and guided them in words to say, though conveyed in their own language and style, their own personality and perspective. They were seers who saw things, things around and things coming which they took as not mere happenings but as God appointments and pronouncements; and in obedience, and sometimes at tremendous personal cost, they both fore-told and forth-told the mind and heart and action-plans of God. They were dreamers.
In the Gospel narratives, particularly around the time and circumstances of Jesus birth, dreams came to the major characters in the Story. Joseph has a dream concerning whether or not he should take Mary, to whom he was engaged, as his wife, now that he knows that she is expecting and the child is not his. Virgin Mary? Not now, apparently. Joseph is warned by a dream to escape with Mary and the young Jesus to Egypt, to escape the wrath and ravages of King Herod, who was seeking to find and kill the boy, this new potentially rival king.
God also spoke through angels. In fact, angel means 'messenger.' Again, in the Christmas Story, we remember the announcement by night, with blaze of glory and light - and much music all around, when angels told simple shepherds of the profound happening in nearby Bethlehem.
In the Bible, God spoke most clearly about God’s self and about the world and how it should go - and one day, will go, in the Person of Jesus, God’s Son - whom we believe to be fully human and fully divine.
God has spoken in times past and God speaks today. As Francis Schaeffer used to put it: ‘He is there and He is not silent.'
Perhaps through angels and dreams still, and certainly by His Word and the Spirit of the Living Christ, God speaks to us, if we'll pause - maybe at Christmas, this time, this year, and pay attention - looking, listening, merely noticing - perhaps just enough to . . .
Tap, tap, tap.