It is an activity I have often led in leadership trainings and participated in while on retreats.
Often it is called lectio divina. Yet, tonight as I sit at Last Wednesday, Chuck and Andrea don’t call it that. Instead, they strip the practice down to its core and call it what it is—listening to God through His Word.
He is always speaking through His Word.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
As we read Scripture, Scripture is reading us, they say.
Do we take time to stop and listen to God in His Word?
As an auditorium of many, we stop to practice.
We read and listen for God to speak.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
As I read, it stands out to me like words bolded on the page, calling out to my heart:
“Hold unswervingly to the hope” and “he who promised is faithful.”
In the minutes that follow I am invited to consider what God might be trying to say to me. I read the passage again and the context provides the key to what I think God is trying to tell me.
I don’t really like it. This is about my attitude, my bad attitude. I can hold to it or I can hold unswervingly to my hope trusting that he who promises is faithful.
I sit in the midst of an unwelcome confrontation. Will I receive what I think God is speaking to me?
At the moment, I think I am very happy with my bad attitude. Will I let it go?
Chuck challenges us to “share what you think you heard with someone from your tribe and act on it” before we go to bed tonight. He has already shared that it is often in sharing what we think we hear that we receive confirmation (“Yes that sounds like God based on His Word and character"), correction (“No that’s not God” or further insight), and encouragement.
I am not looking forward to this sharing, but I am determined to do it.
On my way home, I try to brainstorm ways of avoiding this assignment altogether. However, in the end, I realize I will either do it or not, with this task there is no half-way.
When Jason asks about Last Wednesday I dodge, preferring to listen to him share why he wasn’t able to come late like he hoped.
We carry on with what is left of our evening—comparing baby items online—until I finally work up the courage to share what I think I heard God say to me.
In this, I pour out what I’m ashamed to admit to him—my bad attitude spilling out real and ugly. Somehow it seems even uglier when it is out in the open. I think I’m beginning to recognize this attitude for what it really is—toxic. When I think of this, I’m not quite so happy with it anymore.
Still, I hold to it defiantly—waiting.
I am waiting for the words of correction to painfully whip across my heart.
Instead, my husband gracefully draws me close and speaks. Far from stinging censure, his words are gentle, but pointed. His words bring the perspective I need. They help me see what I could not see before. What he says changes everything.
All at once, I am broken for the way I have been rigid, inflexible and critical. I have been trying to control this situation and in doing so I have been everything but loving.
After I take it all in, I turn toward Jason and apologize for how I have made things difficult for him. The tears trickle as I tell him I want to be a helpful partner in the midst of this situation. I tell him I want to respond compassionately and live trusting the Faithful One to work out all I hope for in the midst of something I am unable to control.
In the midst of this, he affirms me and gives me encouragement.
I look into his kind eyes and realize that my dread is gone. The toxins have been drawn out. I feel free somehow. I find I am softened at heart and ready to respond to all that God has spoken to me.
I wonder at it all.
I walk upstairs to get ready for bed thankful and lifting up praise for the beginning of His transformation in me.
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we listen to God—in His Word—seek counsel from our tribe, and follow where He leads. May we find that He is good and works for ours.