Last Thursday I took a walk up the back road, the one that climbs up through the woods toward the top of the ridge. I haven't been walking regularly, with the level of upheaval in my life lately, so I took an opportunity and kicked myself out of the house for a spell.
With the aforementioned upheaval, I had a lot to think about -- seems like I always have a lot to think about these days. I chewed on my problems as far as the old cabin, a little farther, not as far as the clearing the loggers made some years back. It wasn't a long walk, but I turned and came back, still chewing, turning my thoughts up toward God and wondering where he is these days. Wondering what he is thinking and doing in setting up these circumstances for me to walk through. I considered the verse I had pondered on all week, Micah's beautiful, simple summary of what God asks from his people:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
I recited this verse in my mind again, pondering it for another few hundred yards, and then God spoke. He just said "Stop."
I kept walking, thinking "Hmm?"
So he repeated himself. "STOP."
I stopped on the road. I heard God say, "Listen."
So I listened. It was a quiet, quiet day; not even a breeze to stir the trees. A squirrel ran, pattering footfalls on fallen leaves, and nothing else.
After a while, I felt a tug toward home. I walked on, and kept listening, and then it occurred to me how ridiculous I am.
How considerate is it to take a walk with someone, and never let them say a word? My mind is so noisy. I want to hear from God, but I don't give him a chance to say anything. I'm so full of trying to fix my own problems, circling round and round the same ideas and the same supposed reasons why they will or won't work, and I don't listen.
That night, every time I remembered, I stopped the chatter in my mind and listened, listening for God. The next day I tied a string around my wrist, and every time I noticed the string, I stopped to listen. That string came off, and I'm still trying to listen.
Walk humbly with God. Walk with him, and listen.