Sunday Morning Coffee: God Speaks

I wrote this a a short story yesterday, in response to a daily writing prompt. It’s based on a real situation, omitting, of course, names and other identifying factors. I hope you’ll enjoy it–a little change of pace from my typical Sunday posts.

Writing Prompts: Religion and Spirituality

(God speaks directly to you – what does He say?)

I believe that God spoke to people like Moses, Abraham, and others in the Bible. He even spoke to Saul on the Damascus Road. I believe He spoke to the prophets. But today, we have the complete, total, inspired Word of God–the Bible. So, if I did hear God speak to me, audibly, unmistakably, I’d think I was hallucinating. I believe that He has already given the answers we seek through His Word. I also believe that sometimes we need a little help to find those answers, which is one reason I became a counselor in a Christian counseling office. So that’s the direction I’m going to take for this story.

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One of the things I enjoyed about being a counselor for 18 years was that there was never one day just like another. There were surprises, Sometimes they weren’t happy surprises, like the time I asked a client, twice, to please clean up his truly foul language. Finally, after a particularly disgusting string of curses, I asked him to either stop cursing or leave. He was furious. Stormed out the door and slammed it hard behind him, shaking the pictures hanging on my wall.

His poor wife, who had to tolerate his mouth and his temper ALL the time, wept quietly. I let her get hold of herself, and when she looked up, she said, “What do I do? He didn’t want to come here today, and when he saw it was a Christian office he almost refused to come in with me. He’s always angry, and I’m at my wits’ end. What do I do?”

In this type of situation, I always start talking to the Lord right from the beginning, because honestly? I don’t really know what to say! I thought of the verse that says, “With a furious man thou shalt not go” (Prov. 22:24) but she was already so wounded, it just didn’t feel right. “God, please give me wisdom, words that are helpful,” was in my mind.

“Has he ever been so angry that he has become physically violent toward you?”

She stared at me as if she’d seen a ghost. “How–how could you know that?” And she was sobbing now, completely broken.

“Have you ever called the police for help?”

She gave me a broken laugh. “Are you serious? He’s a cop! They protect each other. It would only be worse!”

“Has he hurt you enough that you needed a doctor? Hospital? The ER?”

“Yes, but–“

“No, please just listen now. This cannot go on, because he will only escalate. I know, every time he hurts you he says how sorry he is and he’ll never do it again. But he will, and you both know he will. I can’t make you look for help, but you have to know that there are safe houses, Protection from Abuse orders, legal steps you can take to protect yourself. I can help you find a place–“

“I don’t have a car. He won’t let me. There’s no way—“

“Yes, there is. Surely you have a friend, a relative, a neighbor you can call when he’s at work?”

“Well–yes, I guess so, but I’d feel so guilty! It’s like sneaking behind his back!”

“Okay, look. You have two–or three– choices. Stay and put up with his temper until he puts you back in the hospital, and tell whatever doctor who is caring for you. Tell the truth. Say you need help. You can do that, or stay until he kills you. Or, you can let me help you make a plan that will work. The choice is yours.”

And in the back of my mind, the words “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) whispered. So I waited, allowing her the time to really think about what we had said.

And that is how God speaks to me. Sometimes He uses verses I didn’t even know I had memorized, but a lifetime of Bible memory certainly has yielded a rich harvest to help guide me when I don’t know where to go or what to say. His words are always wiser than mine.

Why I Believe

Writing Prompt: Religion and Spirituality

What makes you believe in God?)

Ah! Something I can sink my teeth into, and speak from personal belief and conviction. Not everyone will agree, and that’s okay. It is not my intention to offend, or proselytize, or be judgmental. I’m simply answering the question from my own life experience and love of the Bible.

In Psalm 19:1, David sang, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork.”

I love October. It is a month of great beauty. The skies can be an intense blue, filled with huge billowy clouds through which the sun shines down on trees lush from summer, grass that is still green, and late-blooming flowers whose color is not dimmed by humidity. The mosquitos are gone. There are still a few slow, meandering bees now and then, but soon they, too will rest in their hives for the next few months.

October Glory Maple Tree on the Tree Guide at arborday.org

Some may see all this beauty as an accident of nature, an explosion of some unknown origin. But I see symmetry, order, planning and matchless design all around me. I take great comfort and satisfaction in knowing that God arranged it all for our pleasure, as well as for the more practical purpose of planting, reaping, and resting from our labors. Summer, winter, springtime, harvest. It’s all His design, and all I have to do is look around me to know He exists.

I remember, in my high school physics class, my teacher telling us that just when we think we’ve discovered the smallest particle–at that time, the atom–someone comes along and sees even smaller particles. And sure enough, neutrons and protons and I don’t remember what all else have been discovered since then. Now, we’re speaking in terms of nano-this and thats. I suspect there is far more still to be discovered as we refine our tools of investigation.

I’ve lived long enough to be very aware of the depredations of age upon the human body. If I hold my arm under direct light, I can see crepe where the skin used to be smooth and firm. I haven’t invested in all sorts of products to de-crepe my skin :). I’m 74, and life happens. If I were 34, I may be more concerned.

What’s truly amazing is that most of my body’s systems are still working quite well. My heart is healthy. Blood pressure? No problem. Breathing? Well, I don’t have the same amount of wind that I did years ago, and I don’t do solos or even trios or other groups. I miss that, but I had a lot of wonderful experiences making music. Good memories.

Brain function? As far as I can tell, my brain is still healthy. Sure, I have moments in which I can’t remember why I went into a certain room, or what I was looking for. All of us who have reached our senior years make jokes about such things. However, I still love to learn. I’m still curious, inquisitive; and I want to understand the “why” of things.

My body is not an accident of evolution. It is designed by a master Creator. With all our knowledge, we have just scraped the surface of all that the body can teach us. I’m especially fascinated by the brain, and if I were young and starting all over again (thank God I’m not!) I would be very drawn to the study of the brain, and especially as it relates to behavior and learning processes. Only an omnipotent, omniscient Creator could have designed the miraculous body, and also the environment in which it would thrive. Perfect distance from the sun. Perfect amount of oxygen for breath. Perfect balance of water on the earth to keep us healthy. None of that is just an accidental result of a Big Bang. It was done purposefully to give us health and life.

If you don’t agree, and you doubt the existence of God, would you do something? Would you find your pulse in your neck, and just sit quietly and feel it, feel the regularity of it, and realize that it has been that way since before you were born? It is proof that your heart is beating; that your blood is circulating as it should. That’s not an accident of evolution. The body did not, in some foggy distant past, decide to regulate its heartbeat. God did that, from the very beginning, because He knew what would be necessary to keep us alive.

Or maybe just study the human eye. It’s an amazing thing, something I’ve come to appreciate so much more now that I’ve lost a field of vision due, apparently, to a tiny little stroke that caused a momentary occlusion in the optic nerve. For less than an instant, blood flow was blocked. It’s very exciting, though, as I’ve begun to realize that maybe a little of that vision has returned. I’m not sure, and I don’t want to get too excited, but I think there’s been a change. The ability of the body to heal itself is amazing!

All right, I’ve gone on too long. Again, it has not been my purpose to offend anyone. This is my answer to this prompt. Honestly, I could go on for a very long time!

I do want you to understand that you are free to state your own opinion, but I will not engage in any debate with you publicly. You can contact me by messenger, if you really need to. And please be civil. If you curse or use profane, vulgar language, I will not post your comment. If you don’t like what I’ve written, then I kindly suggest you go read something else 🙂