I’m going to tell you strange things today. Like about the times early in my marriage when I prayed to God, telling him about the pain of being married to another broken human being. I brought to God things I had never said to my husband because I knew he wouldn’t be able to receive them. And it happened more that once that my husband came home from working so hard to take care of us and said, “today, I really felt like God was telling me . . . ” And nearly word-for-word what I had said to God came out of his mouth. It turns out that the man who God provided for me has an uncanny ability to listen and hear God. It wasn’t the last time he would tell me things he had no way of knowing.
But one of the strange things about this life is that as much as we might want and seek after God as a way of protecting ourselves from the chaos and pain of life, it just doesn’t work that way. In time when the blows of life finally overtook us, this marriage of ours fell apart. I’d always said that we’d either end up as one of the world’s great love stories or self-destruct in a truly spectacular fashion. For a long time, it has seemed that the latter was our fate. It wasn’t that we stopped trying – far from it. In fact, in the middle of our worst arguments, my husband began to stop to pray and listen to God. I followed his lead and began doing it as well. We became the only couple in all of creation perhaps that would actually stop to seek God in between throwing accusations and curses and venom at each other. And yet, even with both of us seeking after God, our marriage continued to devolve.
Only I’ve discovered that hearing God isn’t enough. In communication there is what is said, what is heard and what it understood. And it turns out that one must know God better than we humans actually know him to understand what he is saying. I learned this when one day my husband told me, “be careful – God told me that there are two voices you are hearing.” The way he said it made it clear that he thought I was being deceived. This was his own belief – that I was wrong and refusing to deal with reality. He thought God was confirming this. Only unbeknownst to him, I had been praying regularly to God complaining that I was no longer sure if I was listening to Him or just hearing what I wanted to hear – talking to myself. Over and over again, I had asked, “how do I know that when I think I hear you, I’m not just hearing what I want to hear?” And he answered me – “you’re hearing two voices.” I knew what it meant – you’re not just talking to yourself. But my husband, working with a different set of assumptions and knowledge, took away something totally different. As we can see perfectly well with all the people who know God’s word yet know little of love, simply hearing God is quite different from understanding Him. Continue reading