For the past few days I have met with a group of people and talked about big things. Weighty things that bring joy and hope and discernment and foster the need for a prayerful time of listening to God. And God answered, like God does.
In my story these past months, God and I have had a lot of conversations. Well, I have initiated a lot of conversations and tried to listen very hard to the detailed plan of what I’m supposed to do. Because a detailed plan and guaranteed outcome would be really nice right about now.
But right now there is no detailed plan in sight and my soul and mind sit and wait for that still small voice, that evidence of God’s speaking and moving in my life and the lightning bolt of direction that must be just around the next prayer corner. If only I pray enough or the right way, the answer must be there.
But there’s no plan, at least not one that’s been revealed to me in detail and triplicate. And I know that God hears me, because I can feel the listening presence as I sit and wait impatiently.
Just breath. Just a breathing presence that isn’t waiting or expecting, but just present and frustratingly closed mouthed.
Yet I hear him.
I hear him in times of corporate listening and seeking. I hear him in the vibration of his presence through nature, the creative work of his hands.
I hear him in the words of others and the wisdom of the sages.
But there are times when I really wish he would speak when I need him to speak.
Isn’t need a funny thing when it comes to our relationship with God?
I need God because he is the breath in my lungs and the savior of my soul.
I need his authorship over my life and his direction to my purpose.
I need him to answer the deep life questions I have and everything in me wants the answers now.
What I think I need and what my soul needs aren’t always in sync.
Because God knows what I need.
As I was driving home from these meetings that felt full and spiritually rich, I began to cry. Crying over the days that I was going back into, days full of a vocational ending without the reassurance of new beginnings. And it was hard.
Hard to think that the God who knows what the universe and the single organism need would forget what I needed.
I pulled into the driveway, parked the van, and stood in my front yard. On the dry grass and changing leaves and the crackle and crunch of a season that is ending.
You go to your children’s school assembly.
You can make it in time and they’d like it. And with the future uncertain you may not always get to go to these when you’d like to.
So I went. And the kids were glad. The younger two were excited I was there, the oldest didn’t see me.
I knew I was there for them, but there wasn’t a particular reason that I needed to be there.
But God knew what I needed.
Because you see, my oldest boy who sometimes lives in the shadows of a culture where sports and popularity are the currency by which we live, my oldest boy who doesn’t conform to what seems right to the masses, this oldest boy of mine?
Today he got an award for his servant’s heart. The shock on his face and the cheers from his friends, the photos I could take and the video of his praises being sung by a principal he admires, that is what was needed.
That is what he needed. He needed me to be there. He needed me to see and celebrate with him and rejoice in the notice of the meaningful way he walks through the world.
And God knew what I needed. God knew that I had missed the email saying he was getting an award because I was out and doing good, meaningful, body of Christ work.
And that voice of God, that still small voice that prompted me forward beyond what I knew into where I needed to be, that voice knew what I needed.
Sometimes our greatest soul need is not the huge life-directing plan.
Sometimes our greatest soul need is daily detailed grace.
The grace to be able to celebrate with each other even when we miss the invitation.
The grace to be part of the bigger picture of what God is doing in the life of another.
The grace to see that God is working in this child of my heart to grow this child into a young man who knows what it means to give of himself for others.
I am so grateful for a God of the everyday needs and graces. Who is concerned with the blade of grass in the field of wheat, whose eye is on the drab-colored sparrow, this God of ours who sees us, sees what we need to sustain our lives and gives us our daily bread.
It’s this daily bread of everyday graces that sustains me as I seek God’s greater vision. Grace that quiets me and reminds me that the silence is not withholding from me, but is movement for my good.
And that the silence is in the grace moments, if I will learn to listen.