We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
— Mother Teresa
Such insight! I remember a priest say once, prayer involves a deep conversation with God. Conversation requires at least 2 people, one talks while the other listens. This, the conversants do in turns. Now, if we were the only one talking, how can that be a conversation? We need to listen to what God has to say. This means we have to be receptive of His message; not what we want to hear. Often, God doesn’t answer right away. There are times when His answer feels like it’s at odds with what we expect them or hope that they would be. Sometimes, God speaks to us by other means. Sometimes, God makes things happen that force us to our knees so that we become open to what He wants to teach us. Often, it is very difficult to grasp the message…the lesson. In times like these, we need to ask Him for understanding, wisdom, humility and patience. Let us learn to listen.
Years ago, I wrote a poem entitled, “How Does God Speak?” Unfortunely, our college paper editor-in-chief, Des Ferrioles, borrowed my compilation of quotes, poems and essays. That was the only copy I had. There, I list how God speaks to us through His Creation:
The dawn signifies the start of a new day, after a long, dark, cold night…we are given time anew to do our appointed tasks.
The rain waters the dry, parched earth and makes the plants grow and bear fruit…He nurtures us and desires that we grow and learn. See the lightning that flash across the sky, with it I destroy and also create…He demostrates His power to build and destroy. Behold the rainbow after the storm…He remembers His promise. It also means that amidst the tempest, the trials of life, we should always hope for He is a loving God. We must be mindful of the lessons learned in adversity. Witness the setting of the sun, it signals the day’s end. The labors of the day have ended, harken to me. He tells us that the time for our labors are done. We have preoccupied with our work, our career, school, and other worldly cares. We need to commune with Him. We need to examine what has transpired during the day. Do we give an excellent accounting of our time? Have we used our time and gifts to serve others? Have we used our talents to glorify Him? The moon bathes the world in pearly silver light…even during the darkest moments He’s with us. See the stars in the night sky, by them tell directions…so it is with God, in trying times, He guides us to where we need to go. The season teach us that there are appointed times for all things…birth, growth, decline and death. Life is a cycle…it is dynamic and ever changing. When the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it teaches us not to be afraid of change. Sometimes we need to let go and allow Him to take us where we need to be. There is a purpose to our life. We really need to be open to hear His words, and have faith.
If we want God to speak to us, we must learn to be still and quiet. The Hebrew shepherd David put it quite eloquently in Psalm 19: 1 -4: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.