Develping “ears to hear” God takes time. We all have strong resistances to listening. First of all, we find it very hard to create empty spaces in our lives and to give up our occupations and preoccupations, even for a while. We suffer from a fear of the empty space. We are so concerned with being useful, effective, and in control that a useless, ineffective, and uncontrollable moment scares us and drives us right back to the security of haivng something valuable to do.
But even strong than our fear of the empy space is our fear of actually hearing the voice of God! We know that our God is a jealous God who knows there is no other cure for our restlessness and deafness but finding our home in God. We know that God’s mercy is a severe mercy that does not coddle or spoil but cuts to the heart where truth resides. And although we are unsatisified and unfulfilled, we are not so sure that we want to go in the direction God might call us to go. We are not sure our self-image is the same as the image God wishes to form in us. Those who have really listened to God’s voice have often found themselves beind called away from familiar and relatively comfortable places to places they would rather not go.
This cuts to the heart of much of my problems. For years I have created opportunities or preoccupations to fill in gaps of empty space in my life. I did this, as so many others do, to feel fulfilled and worthy of the respect of peers. Often this comes around in what work I do. Because, after all, work has become one of our great defining mechanisms in society. The sad truth of it all, through all this I likely missed out or prolonged the process, of becoming more fulfilled by the grand dream God has dreamed for me.
I am slowing down now. I am returning to some of the practices and spaces that once fed me during times when grand dreams, which I did not even have for myself, were realized. With hope and time, those empty spaces will be filled with some marvelous realizations of myself.
Lord, help me to be comforted in the empty space of my life. If I have no empty space grant me the courage to create them. Grant me, even more, the courage to spend time in the empty spaces that we can commune together.