How God Speaks to Us

I spent some more time yesterday reflecting on the question of how God speaks to us, which I raised in my post of yesterday, prompted by the story of the conversion of St. Paul. What came out of that reflection is this: While it it true that God does at times intervene to give us some very specific instructions or statement or to answer some immediate need, as He did to Paul and as I’m sure we’ve all experienced at some time in our lives, I think we make a mistake if we expect God to always speak in a way that provides us with a blueprint of specific directions and instructions to follow.

It is true that things would be much easier for us if God always gave us such a clear and direct blueprint for our lives. (It is that desire for the easier path that produces the plea, “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it”). But I don’t think God is very interested in providing that level of direction. Rather, God expects us to use our intellect and our judgement, aided by prayer, Scripture and the advise of spiritual advisers and friends, to discern our path. It is for us to discover which is the more life-giving choice when faced with multiple options, what it is that will lead us to greater faith, hope and love. We are God’s children, yes, but we can’t expect God to just tell us what to do all of the time as if we were children; if He did, we would never grow into a mature relationship with Him. God wants co-creators, not servants who will simply follow direct orders. So if we look for God to always knock us off our horses and just tell us plainly and simply what to do, we will often be disappointed.

It is true that allowing us to discern on our own means that we will occasionally make a choice that is not the best. But as I suspect we’ve also all experienced, God manages somehow make it right. I often repeat the old experession, God writes straight with crooked lines, although I suppose one could also say that when given lemons, God makes lemonade. Somehow God manages to work with what we give him.