I haven’t felt much God around me the last few days. I’m pretty sure that’s probably on me. NaNoWriMo begins in twelve days, and already my novel and its cast are taking up the controlling interest in my BrainShares. Combine that with my parents visiting and planning out what is rapidly becoming an insane month of November, I’ve successfully allowed God to fall through the cracks of my life.
I’m pretty sure that’s mostly okay though. God is like a seed. Even when he’s relegated to the in-between spaces he finds a way of exploding through the cracks. When I was young, I whole heartedly believed that God was always whispering to us. If we couldn’t hear him, it was because our lives were turned up too loud. Then the Great Silence happened, and I recanted my statement. Then the Great Silence ended, and I revisited my thesis and realized it was just a little off.
God isn’t whispering. He’s shouting, flailing his arms, throwing pebbles at us. He’s desperate for us to hear him, desperate for us to catch a glimpse of his relentless, terrifying love. So he follows us, day in, day out, dancing around us, inches from our faces.
How is it possible that we miss him? How did I lose years of my life to dark, bitter, silence if God was there all along orbiting around me like a mischievous ghost?
The problem with my pre-Great Silence thesis is that it assumes that if we’re not hearing from God, then it’s our fault. If I pray and I’m not privy to an epiphany, then it must be because I’m doing something wrong. Essentially, the entire thing is an “if/then” formula that implicitly states that in order to hear from God, we have to earn it. We have to pray harder, spend more time in silence, do more “Christiany” things.
I don’t think that’s what it’s about. Imagine you’re walking through the mall with a song in your head. You catch yourself muttering the lyrics and realize that the song that has been circling through your brain all day is now playing through the mall’s speakers. Music was playing from the moment you walked in, but you tuned it out until it suddenly matched the rhythm that was already thumping through your brain.
Maybe we only hear God when our heart catches itself in sync with his? What if syncing up our hearts with God’s has less to do with the Christian to-do list, and more to do with living out Shalom, that is, living our lives the way God intended them to be lived?
I think it’s possible that the Great Silence wasn’t the result of God closing his mouth, but of my heart falling out of sync with his. It began when my desire to know God shifted into a desire to know about God. I prayed more, read my Bible more. Started a prayer group, started a small group, nothing worked. This led to me growing angry and resentful, which certainly didn’t help.
It wasn’t until I opened my heart to the idea that maybe I had missed something that I began to hear the faint humming of God’s tune.