A friend of mine had a dream once that God gave him a piece of paper, and on this piece of paper was a sentence written to him, from God. Telling him something secret, something that he needed to do, something that would guide him. God told him that he could open it now, but the words on it wouldn’t make sense, so he unfolded the piece of paper, and as God had said, there was a sentence written on the paper but it made no sense. So he folded it up and put it into his back pocket. God told him one more thing and this was that the piece of paper had a magical quality, in that everytime something caught a hold of my friends attention, or something that he idolized, it would be written on this piece of paper.
So the dream carried on and my friend said that it was a dream of life, where everything that happens in life, happened in the dream, he watched TV, played Xbox, played sport, went shopping, read magazines, read the newspaper, ate, drank, slept etc. And every time something big happened in his life, he would seek out the guidance from the things of this world, completely forgetting about the piece of paper that God had given him. Eventually a storm hit him, a storm that no one could explain. A storm that blew apart his world. Confused and afraid he sought direction, unsure where to turn, or in whom to trust. Then he remembered the piece of paper that God had given him. Hastily he reached into his back pocket and pulled out the piece of paper. With nervous anticipation he slowly opened it, unfolding the weathered piece of paper. As he unfolded it, and held it loosely in his hand, confusion held his thoughts. And an anxious darkness held his heart.
He cast his mind back to where once there was a sentence so clearly etched in ink upon the piece of paper, but only confusion could be seen. The piece of paper had been riddled with so many different sentences, some of them in dark ink, some in a lighter ink. Some of the text was large, and some of it was small. Somewhere among the words, letters and sentences were God’s very words, but he could not find them. He squinted his eyes, tilted his head from side to side, but alas it was useless, he could no longer see what God had said.
Now this story is profound in that so often we fill our lives with so many things that when God is speaking to us there is so much other stuff shouting commands to us. When we are faced with a decision, we can barely hear the nudging of the Holy Spirit because of all the noise. This past few weeks I have been thinking about this thing called “listening”, have you ever noticed that it is incredibly hard to listen and do something at the same time? And I not talking about hearing, or half listening, I am talking about when we truly listen. Stop now.
Can you hear all the “background noise”?
That stuff you never noticed?
The sound of a clock ticking, the sound of the wind blowing, the sound a fridge humming, the sound of the birds? Can you hear them? Every little noise? From the discreet, to the most obvious. The thing is, we do hear it, but don’t listen to it.
I was sitting in sermon the other night and my attention slowly wondered like a distracted child in a toystore, suddenly I realized I had been wondering, and I tried to pull in the different projections of thought, and aimed them toward the preacher, choosing to listen. And it made me think about how so often a sermon is only powerful if I choose to listen, I am only aware of God, when I listen, when I direct my focus toward the small moments of his glory in an ordinary day.
Have you ever noticed how intricate a blade of grass is? I suppose it’s only when you look at it, and study it that we notice how intricate it is. When you actually stop. You can’t walk and study it, you can’t really admire the intricacy when you just look at the lawn from a distance.
When we notice it. Study it. See the intricacies within it.
Now I promise I’m not an Agrostologist (someone who studies grass, Google it), I’m not even that interested in grass, not in the slightest. Grass is great to walk upon, and maybe lie upon on a sunny day and a pain to cut when you have a whole lot of it. But if a blade of grass can be so intricate when we actually take the time to study it, can you even imagine how much awe we will be in when we truly start to notice God? The God who created that blade of grass, who created the stars, intimately, detailed, spot on. Cast your mind into that concept, that stars are intricately designed, not only in there systems, but each star is uniquely intricate. Often one can get overwhelmed in the details, because there is just so much, but maybe when we realize how much there is in God thats when the small details in our little lives that hold us back will be overshadowed by the immense and jawdropping beauty of a King that loves unrelentingly.
So I dare you.
Take a moment .
You might find that God’s been whispering the whole time