Magic 8 Ball Jesus

I am an Old Testament Geek. I love the stories of the epic battles and how God always come to the rescue of His people. I love how the physical world so beautifully and clearly mirrors spiritual truths that are applicable to today's world. And I love, LOVE reading about the prophets: their idiosyncrasies, their audacious faith, and honest doubts. Having always been someone who was a bit different than the social norm, how God uses these men despite not being the "pretty people" is such a comfort to me.

But in the last twenty four hours I've had an epiphany: for the last thirty-something years I have been unknowingly reading the stories I love so dearly through a Danee filter. By that I mean, when I was a child and would hear or read these stories, I saw them through my filter. Now anyone who knows me knows even now, I have my own, colorful twist on most things. Just imagine what a five year old Danee's imagination was like.

So when I read in 1 Samuel 5:19, for example, how David asks God for direction and in the same verse God answers him, I have this picture of David almost audibly hearing God. As long as I have been hearing and reading the Old Testament, I just assumed that when it says that God spoke to His people, it was in the clearest and most tangible ways... I read how Moses was called a friend of God, and imagine him walking outside, conversing with the Creator Of The Universe, and hearing back from God in the most concrete way possible... I imagine God speaking to Elijah and giving him such detailed directions in how he is to prophesy to the Israelites that he never craves "God with skin on" because He is in such close communion with The Father... I have just always imagined it was so easy for them to hear from God... I'm not sure why it has taken so long for me to see the glasses that I've been wearing and how they have affected how I see God and His heart towards me. Having been in other cultures and studied how we all have a lens we see the world through that shapes how we interpret things, I've been aware of my own cultural lens in many ways. Even in Bible school, one of the main things I was taught was to read scripture in light of who it was written to. But not until this morning did I realize how specifically my personal filters have affected my expectations of how God should speak to me. For the last couple of years, I have been in a place of depending on God for daily direction. I haven't really had any long term goals or specific passions in life. There is no big dream I feel Him leading me to as it pertains to work and ministry. So each day I pray I know He will lead me where He wants me to go, meet who He wants me to meet and do what He wants me to do. There is no great writing on the wall, just me babbling my heart to The One Who Loves Me Most, and trusting He hears me and is taking me where I need to be. It has been, in itself, a grand adventure. Some days I am blown away by the big things, like the mom I meet at the park who needs to be encouraged or how He brings an old friend to my doorstep and uses me to bless them. Most days, though, it's small things like hearing the little girl I watch repeat to someone how God kept us safe from a car accident, knowing she was reflecting the faith in me after a mini van came inches away from hitting us leaving the school parking lot. But, unfortunately, despite all the amazing ways God "speaks" to me deep inside, in a gentle nudging and not through any writing on the wall, I crave something different. I want Him to speak to me as I perceived He spoke to the prophets of old: in a clear and undeniable way. I want a Magic 8 Ball Jesus...

I want to ask about something and be told "yes" or "no" or even better "it is decidedly so". But where is the faith in that? Where is me trusting that the Spirit of God is inside me and leading me? Where is my trusting the heart of God, knowing He is working all things for my good and has a plan for my life? The fact of the matter is we are to trust God and His leading. We are to believe that as followers of Him we are in Him and He is in us. We are to learn about our identity and walk in it... For me, this morning, it means being aware of my filter as I look at the life of David. Instead of seeing his relationship with God as this easy, rose-colored thing, reading 2 Samuel 5:20, and seeing the excitement and maybe even pleasant surprise that God moved in the way he thought He would. I'm not sure what this means for me in the long run, but today it brings me peace in a time that honestly has been wrought with anxiety. It's not about whether or not I hear God perfectly every time, but it's about my trusting His heart. So in times when there is no writing on the wall, I just go where it seems wisdom is leading me, trusting that when I step in the wrong direction He is going to let me know. In the long run, the adventure of the unknown is way more fun than a Magic 8 Ball guided life anyway....

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