I couldn’t sleep. I lay in my bed, knowing that I had to be up at a quarter to four to serve middle-class people from the suburbs their coffee. I had to get some rest. Besides, eight hours of class waited for me after work. I’d be a pathetic human by that point if I didn’t get any shut-eye.
Whenever this happens, or when I wake up without any clear cause, I assume that the Almighty wants to have some sort of conversation.
“God, are you there?”
I didn’t anticipate any audible answer, but waited. I could hear the lapse of each second by the tick of my watch on my desk. I rolled over. “If you’re around, you’re free to do what you want.” Still nothing. Maybe I had gas. Something internal like that had to have roused me from my sleep, because clearly, God was not there. I considered hitting the Tylenol PM, but I’d likely miss work or hit a parked car on the way if I did that.
★ ★ ★
It’s easy to confuse God’s silence with His absence. Perhaps it’s because He doesn’t have a body. It’d be creepy if a friend sat in your dark bedroom, silent, not letting you know they were there (been there- it truly was awful). But I think God occasionally does just that. David asked,
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
(Ps. 139:7, ESV)
Perhaps it isn’t so much a matter of God quietly sitting in on our little world as it is a matter of us never leaving His presence. But we’re simple and our discerning of His “voice” is easily one of the most concrete (though not quite) ways to experience this ubiquitousness.
There’s a page in the Bible that divides the testaments. It represents four hundred years without a prophet- without God’s voice. But we can hardly believe that He’d taken a long vacation, or had simply chosen to step back from everything for centuries. It seems that if such were to happen, this place truly would fall apart. I’m not sure He could let Himself do anything like that. But that’s only speculation.
Regardless, think about this when you’re awake against your will at two in the morning and you’re asking God to talk to you. Consider Psalm 139 when you can’t hear what He has to say or it sounds like you aren’t getting a response to any of your prayers. Then pull your head out because you’re probably living in sin and that’s why you can’t hear Him (totally, mostly kidding-always).