IVP - Online Pulpit - The Divine Conversation

June 1, 2008

The Divine Conversation

My husband and I recently returned from a trip out West with twenty-five teenagers. What an adventure it was for the kids, many of whom had never traveled that far or had seen mountains before. As we drove through the Rockies and ranges in Wyoming and Utah, they fell more and more in love with the beauty and grandeur of the mountains. We are Midwesterners, and as wonderful as we think it is to see cows out on a green hillside in Wisconsin, we admit that mountains cannot be matched in beauty.

I saw my first mountains as a child. I was in awe of them and remember struggling to journal the deep emotions they evoked in me even at the age of twelve. I did not know God in a personal way at that time, but nonetheless my eyes were drawn to the great Creator God because of the witness of his mountains. Our students had the same revelation. The greatness of the mountains spoke loudly to them of God’s greatness, majesty and power.

Paul’s words from Romans 1 ran through my mind—“From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and the sky and all that God has made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20, NLT).

God has made sure that we are surrounded every day with his divine words. Sun, sky, clouds and earth are part of his divine vocabulary. Even in the middle of the city, if we are listening, we can hear him speaking to us. Even when we are surrounded by buildings, bridges and creations of human hands, his voice can break through.

It is God’s joy to speak to us, and it is our privilege to listen for his words. Have you ever challenged your congregation to become listeners to the divine conversation going on around them? I have. However, when I give that challenge, I am always speaking more to myself than to anyone else. I love being a pastor, but one of my greatest fears is that because of my job, I will lose my own ability to hear God. I want to guard that spiritual sense at all cost, because if I lose the ability to hear the heart and mind of God, I will also lose the ability to hear the hearts and minds of people.

I understand the reasons for losing touch with God’s voice, and I can feel those spiritual guerrillas creeping up on me the longer I am in ministry. Like any pastor, I get so busy with ministry—the “important” stuff—that to stop to listen to God seems a waste of time—even selfish. And then there is the know-it-all trap: I am the advice giver, the comforter, the encourager, the exhorter, the pray-er, the teacher. People expect words from me all the time, and my important words become a habit, even in my relationship with God.

My desire is to always be an eager seeker of the voice of God. I have found that my connection with his creation is what keeps my connection with him strong. Creation reminds me to be still and listen.

We pastors need a place to go where we can get close to those things that speak of the Creator’s eternal qualities and divine nature. Do you have such a place?

Posted by Joan Tyvoll at June 1, 2008 10:23 AM Bookmark and Share

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