Note: This post appeared in the December 13 editions of the St. Michael and St. Albert bulletins.
A wise older friend advised, “Every morning when you wake, ask God, ‘What do you want me to do for you today?’” Dutifully, I put a note on my side of the bed as a reminder, and most morning since, I have asked that question.
Occasionally, an answer emerges almost before I’ve asked—like the topic of this column, or the Lord urging me to be present, be gentle and listen to my bride. But often, I sit in silence, in the dark, and hear nothing. I wait a moment or two, then continue with my morning.
This makes me wonder if I’m not asking in the right way. I begin to grapple with the voices in my head and the desires in my heart, trying to direct a one-sided conversation with a God who, for the moment, chooses silence.
If I knew what He wanted at the beginning of the day, wouldn’t I make every effort to achieve it? So why won’t He just tell me?
You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.Micah 6:8
Again and again this year, my heart returns to this verse. If God is not telling me something new today, perhaps it is because I haven’t done what He has already asked.
This grappling with the silence is a trap—a distraction from the Enemy to make God seem distant, fickle, complicated and disengaged from my life; to ensnare me in trying to figure Him out. (As though I am intellectually equipped to do so.)
The reality is that His will for us is clear and simple. It’s written on our hearts: Love one another as I have loved you.
Earlier I asked, “If I knew what He wanted at the beginning of the day, wouldn’t I make every effort to achieve it?” In truth, probably not. I need His grace, His mercy, His help.
Last Sunday, the prophet Isaiah spoke of a voice crying out, “In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” This desert, this wasteland, is the barren ground surrounding my own stony heart. May this be the day Jesus finds the way clear to enter and take up His throne in me—and may I persevere in my stumbling way to prepare my heart for his arrival.