Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#5: Thing you should doubt about your doubt: Can you hear it?

There is the story of the kid who sat in the front row at church and listened to the preacher . . . intently.

As the preacher went on and on, it actually grew disturbing to the preacher to see this child stare so intently and hang on every word.  It is ironic, because the message from the pulpit on this particular Sunday was "God is still speaking."

Well, the preacher finished his sermon . . . and by church standards it was alright.  The preacher walked to the back of the church to greet his people as they walked out the door and into their week.  He actually overlooked the little kid who stood there patiently waiting his turn.  When the foyer trickled down to about 4-5 people left, the preacher was able to see the little boy waiting so patiently.  So he leaned down and tossled the hair of the boy with the unnerving attention span.

"And I saw you in the front row listening so attentively . . . what is your name?" he said in a slightly annoying sing-songy way that adults speak down to kids.

The boy gave his name but then moved on to more important matters . . .

"You said that God still speaks to us today . . . and I just wanted to say that I heard him today."

The other adults sighed with adoration at his little statement and smiled approvingly.  One adult stepped forward with feigned interest and said, "and what did he say?"

The adults in this small group waited for a cute answer from this nice young boy.

The boy looked up and composed himself.

and then, very deliberately . . . almost in a whisper he told them:

"He said . . . 'remember me.'"

There is something spooky about what the kid says that is almost like the old "Twilight Zone" episodes.  Perhaps he is the one who really gets it and the adults are the ones pretending.

The reason I share this story is that many people make their way into adulthood and slowly let go of faith because they have never heard God speak to them.  I can't blame them - how can you have any trust or belief in something that never presents itself to you?

But then again, most people who I have discussed this with are quick to admit that they never spent any serious time trying to listen for God either.  I mean, really - is it possible that we don't have any contact with the divine because we have never opened up the channel to hear the divine?  

I know the atheists and agnostics have almost checked out at this point . . . but this is a good question - when you read the Gospel accounts, you find a Jesus from Nazareth who time after time asks people about their faith before He does any kind of act - miraculous or otherwise.  There is a pre-condition to experiencing anything 'divine' and it seems to be having the faith.  In other words, in order to hear it, you have to have faith that there is something there to hear.  We cannot make judgments on the veracity of faith from the outside looking in . . . it is when you step inside of it that it all finally 'makes sense.'

So perhaps your doubt is like the kid looking at his walkie talkie and saying it doesn't work when actually it is not open to the right channel.  And if we are really skeptics - that would mean that we question EVERYTHING - including my assumption that God isn't real because I can't hear God.

Perhaps it is because you have never really spent time listening.


  1. "We hear what we want to hear"

  2. Yes indeed . . . and sometimes, what we want and what is really there overlap.