I feel God. I’ve experienced God. I live my life for God. But do I hear from God? I love this quotation from Justin Peters:
If you want to hear from God, read your bible.
If you want to hear him audibly,
read it out loud.
So I do. I study and I learn. But I don’t always view the bible as God’s voice. It can be academic or routine at times. I know it’s life-giving, but I can be dense. So that’s why I love it when God is so unbelievably obvious that even I, in my busy, distracted life, can’t miss it.
Let me tell you a story.
Trey went to his first sleep away camp this winter with our church. He’s grown up in church, understands faith and has accepted Jesus as his savior. Big time moment for us, the best moment a parent can have, but that’s a different story. This story is about him being in third grade, old enough now to attend camp, but still only having the Jesus Storybook as a bible. A great bible, but not a big boy, going-away-to-camp-for-the-first-time bible. So we get him one. He picked out a backpack bible. It’s great, it has a camo cover. He loves it. He loves that Jesus’s words are in red. He loves how thin the pages are. He loves that it’s his. He wrote his name in it. I imagine him holding onto this bible the whole of his life.
But on the first day of getting this bible, he didn’t know what to do with it. So I start to teach him about the bible and its books and authors, explain the table of contents and how to look up scripture. Now let’s be real here. When I say “teach” I mean I’m talking to him about the bible, cooking dinner and helping his sister with homework all at the same time. I don’t want to inflate the moment. It was not a “holy” moment. It was a life moment. And that’s when it happens. He asks me to test him. Give him a scripture to look up. In the busy of that moment, I simply string a name and two numbers together without any conscious thought of what I might be sending him to, or even if that verse existed! I said ahhhhh, Matthew 3:17.
It takes him a minute or two but he finds it. It does exist and do you know what it says? I obviously didn’t, but God did, because I hear my precious boy read out loud:
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Y’all. Time stopped. It got quiet. My husband and I look at each other. My daughter puts her pencil down. I think I burn dinner. I hug my boy. In his first bible, in the very first verse he reads, he hears that he is God’s son and he is pleasing. Boom. God speaks. We hear him.
Sure, the verse in context is referring to God’s only Son, Jesus, and the heavens opening up after he emerges from his baptism. But God’s word is living and in that moment he spoke directly to my son. My kid who has been reading through all of Matthew since. My kid who knows, without a doubt, his identity is in Christ and Christ alone. Because he is loved and God is well pleased.
I cried that night. I’m crying now. Because I needed that reminder just as much as my boy. We all need that reminder. So I hope you’ll remember this. And that it will inspire you to open yourself up to all the ways God is speaking to you. His word is alive. And he is well pleased… with you.