When you’re a thinker you are burdened with a certain way of seeing the world. You cannot view it as others, and you will have great difficulty enjoying the present as the past and future insist on getting equal time. You do not have the luxury of merely being amused (literally without thinking) but are constantly bombarded with solicited and unsolicited ideas that want to lodge themselves within the crevasses of your soul. I don’t write this to disparage those that enjoy feeling rather than thinking, in fact, I envy the way you enjoy life and often wish that I could completely abandoned thought for just a few moments on occasion.
I’m told this is possible but may involve consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.
The famous preacher Jonathan Edwards once observed this, about the allusiveness with which God speaks to the world, “The green trees and fields, and singing of birds, are the emanations of his infinite joy and benignity; the easiness and naturalness of trees and vines [are] shadows of his infinite beauty and loveliness; the crystal rivers and murmuring streams have the footsteps of his sweet grace and bounty.” Creation whispers and sometimes shouts “The glory of God.” (Psalm 19) But it is often hard to hear amidst the noise of our age.
This past weekend I think I may have heard God speak. Increasingly, I’m less confident of hearing a Divine voice, so I make this claim with a great deal of caution, but if did hear His voice, I heard it in the silence of my 93-year-old father. Dad has entered a nursing home. He isn’t all that happy about it. Specifically, he is upset that his teeth went missing a day after entering the facility. He doesn’t say a lot, as I’m confident this is because he has difficulty hearing. But Dad hasn’t ever been verbose, but less so now. But, and this is where I believe I heard God speak, my dad said to me “I love you.” To be precise, he said “Love you.” These aren’t words he has, to my knowledge, ever said to me before. He frequently says these words now to me and my older siblings and most importantly to my mother.
I suspect that Dad is saying this more freely now that he is approaching the invertibility with which we must all reckon. But it is still good to hear it. If you are a praying person, please say one for my dad and mom during this difficult season. In the meantime, I’ll continue to think about all the ways God is speaking, and about all the ways He remains silent.