One of the things that the kids and I talk about each evening as I put them to bed (they’re 12 and 6) is about “talking to God.”
This entire concept fascinates my 6 year old as the idea of God Himself talking to you sounds pretty dang amazing to him. I explain to him that I talk to God all the time, and his eyes are as big as saucers. He asks me about what God says, what He sounds like, and what it feels like to have God speak to you. I smile lovingly and just say “You’ll know it when He talks to you. I promise.”
I have smiled after these little discussions as they are sincere from my son, and awe-inspiring. I mean, don’t you know his little mind is exclaiming “My DAD talks to GOD?!! Are you kidding me?!” And the truth is that I DO talk to God frequently. Sometimes. Well, I used to. Um, I try?
One of the greatest frustrations in the Christian walk is when you speak with others about what they SHOULD be doing, or ways that they could improve their lot, while you are not doing the same. It’s so humbling and embarrassing. So as I sit on the corner of the bed and talk to my son about talking with God, knowing full well that I’m not doing what I can to also to talk to God…well, it’s convicting.
So as I lie in my own bed and think about these conversations, I’m left with a few questions. One is “Why am I NOT talking to God?” I can’t hear from God if I’m not talking to Him, so why should I be surprised? In my own personal experiences, I think that sometimes we stop talking to God when things are going great. Sounds counterintuitive, but when life is stress free and easy-peasy, it’s really really easy to forget to give thanks to God. You might not believe that, but I’ve seen it happen in my own life. I mean, my successes and my triumphs and my satisfaction ceases to be about God’s blessings and they become things that are due to ME. Sick, I know. But sure enough, they can drive a wedge in between your talks with God, and it’s most unfortunate.
One of the other reasons that I believe that we stop talking to God is when we give up. Life is cruising along, you hit a hiccup, and you pray. That hiccup becomes a major detour, and you pray a bit harder. You find yourself with new and worsening problems that become more and more overwhelming, and I think our sinful nature convinces us that God just isn’t listening anyway. Or that our prayers simply don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, so we just stop talking. We stop praying. We cease seeking the solace in God during our trying times, because, well, it’s not working anyway, right?
I want to talk to God. I really do. I’ve experienced God’s word in my own life, and have seen His very hand influence my life. I have sat back and marveled at His direction and decisions that He has placed upon me, and have been brought to tears over it. I’ve also, unfortunately, seen my heart harden and my mind be distracted by this world and I turn around to realize that I have not taken the time to be in His presence in a very, very long time and that it has taken a toll on my life, my psyche, and my heart.
And then I talk to my 6 year old about talking to God as he marvels at how marvelous that must be.
And it really is. To quiet your mind and heart and to come into the presence of the Lord Almighty is a knee-shaking experience, but it takes work and dedication to get there. Despite what my 6 year old thinks, I can’t just sit down and dial up God and talk about the day’s happenings. It doesn’t work that way. However, I can find Him if I seek Him, and perhaps the biggest lesson in this discussion. God doesn’t just flop down on the couch beside you to say “Hey, seriously. Where ya been?” He waits for you to create a space for Him to speak into your life, and if you do that, He WILL spill out His love and knowledge upon you.
Second Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” God will hear us when we repent, when we confess our sins, and when we humble ourselves.
And not one second before.
I have some praying to do.