|Tom Hanks in Castaway|
From the very beginning in Week 6 of The 7th Year Study by Alicia Britt Chole the following words jump off the page:
not listening -> idolatry -> exile
When? When can I be sure He's ever spoken to me?
How? Did I ignore Him? What if I did because I didn't recognize He was trying to get my attention? Will He have grace for my ignorance?
Should He have grace for me?
So. Many. Questions.
I believe there are stories in the bible that can have purposeful application. Chole does too as she points to Jeremiah 25 and the doom of God's people for not obeying His commands.
God's people, the account reads, were living in the Promised Land and still managed to screw it up even after being forewarned and forewarned and again ... forewarned.
It's hard for me to understand this, if I'm being honest. They lived precisely where God dwelled, they had a straight shot to heaven, life was flourishing and yet
practiced selective hearing.
It baffles me and comforts me.
Because if they had that life ... and I have this (unPromised Land) life .... then surely it can be completely understandable for me to screw up as well.
Yet, as in all forms of disobedience, comes consequences.
If my kids disobey there is punishment. If I do wrong at the job, there are consequences ...
so, as it is with God.
But surely, I think, He knows how we humans are.
He's dealt with our imperfect kind for thousands of years, no?
Can we ever get it right?
In Jeremiah the story says God sent 70 years of turmoil for His people's refusal to listen.
Chole writes: "Exile enhances the senses. Pain increases our overall sensitivity and grants us the opportunity to hear smaller sounds like our own heartbeat and the soft splashes of God's tears."
Isn't that beautiful?
When I felt alone - I could feel His presence.
When I felt lost - I found His guidance.
When I was betrayed - He understood.
When I was without - He supplied my needs.
I don't want to ignore wisdom. I wish to hear the God of the Universe talk to me. But if He doesn't, or if I fail to hear it, or even worse ... quite frankly, disobey it ... I am thankful that while there will always be actions and reactions
cause and effect
that should I ever find myself in a season of exile, I shall be broken
and stripped of all the noise and distractions I entertain in my life,
to (hopefully) be able to rediscover the ability to listen.