August 27, 2012
Listening for God’s voice is perhaps the most exciting activity in this world. Yet it is one not necessarily filled with exhilarating sounds, sights, or actions but one that is marked with patience, stillness, and quiet. God, who can speak to us quicker than a text message, often appears to take another approach, one that requires waiting and perseverance on our part. When we ask God a question or hope to hear from him about something, instead of immediately texting a message back to us, he seems to take a more old fashioned approach of communication. It is as if he stops and ponders what it is he wants to say, writes a letter by hand, and then puts the letter in a mailbox. If we are lucky, we will receive that letter a few days or weeks later. How strange this form of communication appears to your modern sensibilities!
Because of technology, you have been raised in a world that expects immediate feedback. Facebook and text messages provide almost instant communication with people all over the world. Sometimes it is only a matter of seconds and you will receive a reply from somebody that could be thousands of miles away. This obviously possesses many benefits, yet if we project this same expectation upon God every time we hope to hear from him, we will be quickly disappointed. The prophet Isaiah reminds us, “by waiting and calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies,” (Is. 30:15) while God through the psalmist offers a similar command, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Why does God seem to take so long to answer us? The answer, I believe, is in what God is revealing. When God speaks to us he is not just revealing information, jokes, questions about directions, discussing his favorite movies or songs, and various other things people post on Facebook. God is revealing himself, and ultimately, he is greater than all our words can say about him. That is something that takes time for us to receive, ponder, and accept in a way that prohibits a merely superficial relationship from occurring. In other words, when God speaks, it is very serious and profound because he is very serious and profound, much greater than any text message could convey and certainly more enlightening than any message on Facebook.
Unfortunately, this is a life-long lesson for all of us. Patience, trust, and quiet do not come easy to anybody, especially those like you who have been raised in the midst of all this technological progress. Yet it is here where the real adventure lies and where the greatest romance imaginable begins.
God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY