Monday, July 5, 2010

Who is this, really?

I grew up in the 7o's and 80's, when musical technology and availability were notsoverymuch as advanced as they are today. We owned your typical aging record collection, some 8-tracks, a blossoming collection of cassette tapes, and (you guessed it) a tape deck recorder. To pass the time in the summers when we were somewhere around 7th or 8th grade, my sister and I would sit right next to the stereo speakers, trying for hours to catch the perfect song with that tape deck recorder. I can vividly remember holding my breath waiting for the first notes of a song, hoping and praying that the next song would be the right song, and that with our lightning-fast reflexes, we'd somehow, someway, get the button pushed without missing more than the first two notes. It was a thing of beauty: two blossoming teens in the fetal position with their faces pressed to a tape recorder next to a three-foot tall cloth-covered stereo speaker.

Today we'd just download it. (Sometimes I miss the old days when you had to actually work for your music.)

On days when the right song just did not come along, and the minutes turned into long frustrated hours, we would surrender the tape recorder and listen to albums instead. One of our favorites, believe it or not, was Bill Cosby. I used to (OK, I still do) love a good laugh with one of America's all-time great funny men, although these days I have to just listen to him on You Tube. Anyway, Bill has a routine about Noah on the album "Bill Cosby is a very funny fellow Right!", that once upon a time I had nearly memorized. In this routine, Bill gives an extremely humorous account of how old Noah may have reacted when he was first called by the Lord to do something as major as build an ark. As Noah is working away in his shop, the Lord pops into the silence and starts talking. Noah answers, albeit somewhat baffled. The dialogue goes back and forth in the humorous style of Bill Cosby's storytelling, until finally, in utter confusion, Noah calls out "Who is this, really?!"

Who is this, really?

Are you like me? Do you have a lot of voices in your head, giving you a bevy of thoughts all day long? Do some thoughts make perfect sense? Do some encourage you and bolster your confidence? Are some merely amusing? And are still others the negative kind of thoughts that weigh you down as soon as they race through your brain?

Who is this, really?

Are you wondering if God is talking to you? To whom are you listening? To whose voice in your head are you tuning your ears? What are you choosing to believe?

I have rarely had the Lord burst into my head or my silence or my presence with His booming and clear voice. I admit that there are many a day that I beg God to speak in a way that I would understand exactly what He is saying, and although I envy those with the gift for hearing Him so clearly, I am usually not one of them. I have other gifts, and I am grateful for them. But many times, I wish--I just wish--I could filter out exactly which voice is God's voice, and which voice is just noise to be ignored. He has never led me astray, He has never failed to guide me when I am really asking and willingly following, but He is also not using Instant Messenger or Skype to make sure I hear him loud and clear. He wants to make sure I am really, really trying. That I am earnestly seeking Him. That I am turning on the filter of my heart and asking, "Who is this, really?"

Even so, no matter how feeble my ears or how out of tune my own listening skills, God has promised his voice to me! I will hear his voice!

Isaiah 31:19-21...O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

John 10:2-5..."The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognized a stranger's voice."

Oh, that is so comforting. No matter what lies the enemy is feeding me, no matter what society would have me believe, no matter what I try to convince myself, the Lord will talk to me. He is talking to me. I don't have to have a super power or a super gift, I don't need to hold my breath in the fetal position at the base of a three-foot tall cloth-covered speaker ...all I need is to be His little sheep, and I will recognize His voice.

Who is this, really?? It is the Lord. To Him be the praise and the glory!

No comments: