When God spoke to Moses, it was through a brightly burning bush. For Gideon, the message came through a piece of white fleece. To Joseph, through vivid dreams. To Mary and Elizabeth through beautiful angels. To my friend, Ann, through the whisper of the wind in a wheat field. To me, through an infomercial for a blender. Or so I thought, at first.
I listen. It’s what I do. Oh, I can certainly talk a lot but I am also a very good listener. In a part of the world where being quiet and simple listening seems to be more and more unknown that gift of mine is especially needed. And so I listen. I listen until my head hurts from this foreign language and my heart and soul bleed from the stories and emotions that people pour into me. It’s not just one story, or one person. It are many. I take a while to process them and then store them away in my heart. They are safe there and to share a burden is always good, right? So here I am in this country that honestly sometimes really scares me for all kinds of reasons and I listen to stories of abuse of all kinds, rape, PTSD, substance abuse, death, pain and suffering on massive scales. I hold hands and offer hugs. I dry tears and know that these people don’t need council, they don’t need words of compassion or understanding. All they need is someone who listens, someone who takes those stories into their heart and holds them dear. Listening makes you tired. Listening in a language that is not your first can be exhausting. But it is so needed here and I guess that is my gift to the people of this country. I listen.
Do these stories affect me?
The Lord is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Although he is incredibly different this difference doesn’t manifest itself in distance. It is because he is so different that he can be so close to us. Closer than we can be to ourselves.
And the invisible glory, greatness and difference of God become visible in the limitations, the vulnerability, the familiarity of Jesus, one of us. God must have seen potential in the human weaknesses like anger, despair, weakness of will, suffering, vulnerability, fear, and so on. Why?
Because that is what he “forced” himself to experience in Jesus. So the things we are afraid of, the emotions we call weaknesses are what make us human and are therefore what in God’s eyes is so precious about us.
All there is, is therefore:
Do it like God.