Listening to God

February 3, 2012

Cambridge Maryland

Dearest Friends,

Well I’ve been here for a month now. Not sure what to say that might make sense but I’ll try. First let me report that Ellen is driving down tonight to stay for a week… can’t wait to see her! And our dear friends Dave and Jeanie Wilson are coming down on Saturday. We have been friends since seminary days and they are a good example of the fact that we never know what day God will bring people into our lives who will love us, change us and make us better people! Outside of a “thank you” to the grocery store people on occasion I have had little contact with anyone since I got here. I have begun to talk to myself which isn’t unusual… but the answers are getting scary!

I have deliberately eliminated most news from my life so I have little idea what’s going on out there. I do know that this Sunday is the super bowl. There is a television here but I don’t watch it much. It is a little erratic in terms of the reception so you sometimes only get ½ of a conversation… and of course miss the most important points! With the limited stations it gets I don’t know if the super bowl will be on!

So, what have I discovered in my time here? I guess mostly this… Listening to God in the midst of our daily hectic lives is difficult. It seems that we fit God in on the edges or when we have time. But the notion that Jesus tracks with us 24/7 is difficult to maintain. How do we pay attention to God when we are upset because of something that someone did today? Or when we discover that someone else is upset with us about something? Or things at work are terribly stressful. Or maybe there is no work and we are unsure of our future. What about our kids or grandchildren (if we have them), how are they faring? What shall I make for dinner tonight? Oh shoot, I have a meeting today that I don’t want to go to! I saw ___________ this morning… they make me so mad. Darn the inspection on the car is expired! Etc, etc, etc… Do any of those things sound familiar? (by the way some character on television used to say etc, etc, etc… all the time but I can’t think of who that was. Seems to me they had an accent)

But when those thoughts are removed from our lives it’s possible to bask in the wonder of a Glorious God. Don’t get me wrong, I am not all aglow and having a mountain top experience, at least not yet. But I am reminded of the fact that God loves me. Me! The God of a trillion galaxies actually cares about Bill Little. And you I might add! Not that I didn’t know that a month ago… but it is marvelous to be able to focus on it. Particularly to focus on God’s love without the distractions that make me feel so bad about myself. It’s hard to accept Gods love when we struggle with who we are.

My reading has slowed down because I am now reading several books that tend to be more “devotional” in nature. Each chapter is thought provoking and requires some marinating in my brain and spirit. Brennan Manning is one Christian author whom I have come to really appreciate over the years. He recounts the following story in several of his books:

Several years ago, Edward Farrel, a priest from Detroit, went on a two-week summer vacation to Ireland to visit relatives. His one living uncle was about to celebrate his eightieth birthday. On the great day, Ed and his uncle got up early. It was before dawn. They took a walk along the shores of Lake Killarney and stopped to watch the sunrise. They stood side-by-side for a full twenty minutes and then resumed walking. Ed glanced at his uncle and saw that his face had broken into a broad smile. Ed said, ‘Uncle Seamus, you look very happy.’ ‘I am.’ Ed asked, ‘How come?’ And his uncle replied, ‘the Father of Jesus is very fond of me.’”

-Brennan Manning, Lion and Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, p.22

How are you today my friends? Well I hope! The Father of Jesus is very fond of you.

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