He Speaks

I’ve always loved to read. From the time my Mama taught me to put words together to form sentences, I couldn’t get enough. One of my sources of frustration, as a child, was that the public library would only let me borrow five books at a time. And after my parents made me turn out my lamp each night, I would lie in bed and read by night light. To this day, reading is, by far, my favorite thing to do. Many nights, I have to force myself to close my book to go to sleep.

This makes it all the more shocking that I really don’t enjoy reading the Bible.

(Wow! Did I really just admit that publicly? If you see lightning, come look for a pile of ash sitting in front of my laptop.)

Seriously.

I believe in the Bible. I believe that it is important and true and relevant. I’ve read most of it—some of it, many times. But by and large, I don’t enjoy reading it, and so often, I don’t. And while I do concede that I should read it more often than I do, I’ve found that God speaks to me in a whole lot of other very profound and meaningful ways.

When I was thirteen and was going through my first extended period of depression, my friend Corrie, made a comment one day that she wrote letters to God. It was that off-hand remark that changed my life. For twenty-one years now, that’s exactly what I have done.

What I learned is that God answers me. I wish I could tell you all of the times I’ve sat down with a pencil and a notebook and an overwhelming obstacle, and stood up with an answer, a strategy, and a heart full of hope. God speaks.

God also speaks through the world around me. Often through nature. Through a sand dollar. A walk on a pier. A sunset. A friend. I know that the Bible is the Word of God, and that the Word of God is the Voice of God. But I hear His Voice in so many other ways. And I think that as long as I’m listening for Him, He’ll speak in any and every way He can.

I know that I have friends right now that are desperate to have answers. But you think God has forgotten you or that He doesn’t care. The truth is that He hasn’t forgotten you. He not only cares about you, but He’s working on your problem. Slow down. Get quiet and listen. And He will speak in ways you never expected.

 “I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With notions like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak.” (Tozer, p. 46)

This post is part of a weekly discussion that my friend Jason Stasyszen and I are co-facilitating on AW Tozer’s classic “The Pursuit of God.” You don’t have to read the chapters to stick around for the discussion! If you have written a response to this chapter, you can find the widget at Jason’s place this week! I’ll see you back here next week, when we’ll be starting chapter 7 and I’ll be hosting the widget.

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Comments

  1. Sarah you are lucky to hear answers. Try as I might I have not been able to “feel or hear” answers. And I don’t just mean answers that I want. Just any answer. I do believe and I pray all the time but…. Going on 2 months now of a very very dark time and I don’t know where he is. Not giving up though. 🙂

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Nancy, I’ll be happy to talk to Him for you. But sometimes, God’s answer is, “wait.” Remember when I came and stayed at Ryan’s and went to that job interview? I was so sad that I didn’t get that job. But God knew He had a MUCH better, more stable job for me. I just had to wait awhile. Meanwhile, back to you… I’ll be talking to Him for you. And if you’d like to talk to me (in person, even), we can make that happen. 🙂

  3. I don’t always read it either Sarah.. Since I found Bible Gateway.com and Max MacLean reads it.. I listen.. Early in my walk I read it a lot.. But now I listed.. He can pronounce the words much better than my Southerness (Is That a word, lol)can…. I love to listen… I listen to King James, because I understand it.. I think I told you that in Senior English in High School I had a teacher that made Shakespeare and how to understand it come alive on the written page.. Even since then, for some reason I love to read the King James, or listen to it. I understand about the talking to you, I hear it through things and people too. Always have.. Dunno why.. ..Sometimes too I have to remember to “shut up and listen” too.. Thanks for this Sista Sarah..

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    You’re welcome, Barbara! 🙂

  5. Yeah, if we are really hearing God, it will line up with His previous revelation of Himself in the Bible (because God can’t lie and can’t go against Himself). I am amazed sometimes how God will bring something to my remembrance and then later I read or “find” it in the scriptures. That’s fun! He does have and use so many different ways to communicate and get our attention. About reading the Bible, I remember in high school asking God to give me a love for His word because I just didn’t. I read the Psalms and Proverbs regularly, but much else and I was restless. I asked Him to give me a love of reading and studying it because I knew He was revealing something important through those words and people’s lives and I wanted to know Him. It wasn’t overnight but I now genuinely love to read and study His word. He answered my prayer! Anyway, I thought of that as I was reading your post. 🙂 Thanks Sarah.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, OFTEN, when God speaks to me, He drops a scripture into the message to confirm that what I’m hearing is on track with His Word. And I really do have a deep RESPECT for the Bible. I would even say I love it. I defend it all of the time. But typically, unless I’m reading stories or Psalms, I zone out. I TRY to engage. And sometimes, I do. But most of the time, I don’t. Also, I think it would help if I knew more of the context of some of what I’m reading. Specifically, if I knew more of the context of the prophets, it would be easier to understand and follow, I think. But I LOVE what God did in you and I don’t doubt that He could do it in me also. 🙂

  7. Sarah, this is so cool. When I was younger I always struggled with reading the Bible, so I did the same thing I used to write letter to God. I don’t do that as much now as I would like, but I do have conversations with him. I thought there could be no one else out there writing letters to God. Very cool. 🙂

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    See, Malcolm?! See?! We DO have something in common! 😀

  9. My wife and I were talking kinda about this last night. When we sit down and write, we have to focus on what we’re writing about. We have to clear our minds from all the noise that builds up during the day. We are literally being still so that we know he is God. Just sitting down and reading is hard to block all the other stuff out. I like that Barbara says she can turn the Bible on to listen. I should do that too. That’s another way to just block everything else out. Anyway, I’ve been the same way lately. I can read blogs, books, news, or just about anything but struggle to open the Bible. The challenge isn’t in the Bible itself, it is in being still to listen.

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Good point about focus, Frank! And you’re totally right! 🙂

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