So I said, “I was talking to God the other day.”
“Wait,” he said, “You talk to God, I mean not like, eh, pray or something, I mean you talk to God?”
I said, “Hmmm, how do you define praying, if not talking to God?”
He said, “Oh you know, you get down on your knees, usually in a church, and fold your hands and say,’ Our father who art in heaven.’ You know like that.”
“Yes,” I said, “I do do that sometimes, but mostly I just talk to him as I’m driving or sitting in my study or going for a walk. I usually talk to him through letters in my prayer journal.”
“I see,” he said. “Does he talk back to you?”
I figured he was being sarcastic but I answered him anyway. “Yes, he does actually.”
“Oh, you’re one of those kind.” The sarcasm left and antagonism took its place.
“Those kind? What do you mean those kind?” I knew where he was going but I egged him on.
“One of those who hear voices and sees visions and that kind of stuff.” His antagonism started turning to disdain. “So what did he say to you? Did he say anything about me?” His disdain turned to cynicism.
“Yes he did, actually. He said He loved you.” I could see the amusement in his face.
“Yeah, right, God told you that he loved me. You’re a nut. I thought you pastor guys were whacked but now I know it.”
“No really, God said, that He loved the world so much that he sent his only son to give you eternal life (John 3:16).”
“That’s not God, that’s the Bible. I know that verse. You said he talked to you.”
“Well, God speaks through the Bible, I read the Bible, so he speaks to me. And since you are one of the ‘world’ that he speaks of, he was talking to me about you.” I could see he wasn’t really buying it but I ventured on. “And he says he wants you to love him and that he wants me to love you (Mark 22:30,31).”
With some obvious amusement he said, “So how are you doing with that last part?”
“I’m working on it. But I know that’s what he wants. So do you. Even John Lennon, who tried to imagine God away, knew the truth of that. God wants me to love and care for you the same as I love and care for myself.” His amusement was contagious. “It’s hard at this moment, but I know that’s what he wants. So I’m working on it.”
“So you don’t really hear voices. I mean, he doesn’t really talk to you.”
“I don’t hear him audibly no, but I know his voice when I hear him speak to me as I seek him in the Bible. He doesn’t speak to my ears, he speaks to my soul, and I know it when I hear it. And to tell the truth, I usually first know he’s speaking to me directly because of the natural resistance I have to what he tells me to do. Don’t get me wrong, I like you, but he tells me that I’m supposed to not just care about you but to care for you. I’m supposed to help you, even serve you if you need something from me. My soul resists that. I want to care for myself and get the most for myself. What I naturally want is for you to help me. I want it all to be about me. So when I hear him tell me to do otherwise I feel his truth way down deep in my soul.”
“Really? Would you wash my car?”
Fortunately for me I could see his car and it was spotlessly clean and it was pouring rain. “If that is the greatest need you have in your life, then sure, I’ll help you wash your car. I don’t really want to, but if that would show you that God loves you, I’m your man.”
“I don’t really need you to do that, I was kidding” he said with the amusement, disdain and cynicism gone, “but I’m sure there are things I could use your help with. Can I call you?”
“Sure,” I said, “that’s what God says I’m supposed to do and my desire is to do what he tells me to do.”
“OK,” he said, looking me in the eyes, “I’ll put that to the test one of these days.”
“Fine,” I said reluctantly, “God and I will be waiting for the opportunity to be of help. Just give one of us a call.”