The next day, the words—“an instrument of revelation”—came to me. “Lord, is this what you want me to be?”
Yes, that’s right.
“What kind of revelation?”
And what kind of instrument.
First, I want you to model the spiritual life. Live it deeply. Theology is not just an intellectual exercise. It must be grounded in an intimate relationship with Me, an intimate openness to My Word.
“Aren’t I already open, Lord?”
Yes, but you turn away.
You know the problem- you hold Me at arm’s length. And listen to Me only part of the time, and only partially, not as a whole person. Draw Me into yourself totally—live through Me—and let Me guide you totally.
“But that sounds miserable. I couldn’t have fun and enjoy life any more.”
No, it doesn’t mean that. You will find life perfectly pleasant. This is not a renunciation. It is an affirmation, a growing in a certain direction, in a certain domain.
This reminded me of saying a sad farewell, before getting married, to all I would be “giving up”—having my apartment as messy as I wanted, living on pizza, watching the Late Late Show. It’s amazing what a bachelor can cherish as the good life.
“Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Nothing dramatic. Just pause in the course of the day to take Me in.
It doesn’t mean you have to interrupt other things you’re doing. But I will be co-present and a co-participant. Try that now, as you eat your lunch.
“Okay, Lord.” I drew Him in and unwrapped my sandwich. “Let me share this with You, Lord.”
That day I ate lunch “with God.” But most days I do not.
Listen to this on God: An Autobiography, The Podcast– the dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin.
He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him.
2 thoughts on “You hold Me at arm’s length.”
Margaret Guthrie June 20, 2013
This excerpt has been on my mind all day. God told me something similar a few months back. I found that when I let him in, I felt happier in a simplistic sort of way, as if there were nothing to figure out but to simply be in his presence and that was well enough. The more I listened (listening not with the mind but through the heart), the more I felt this light guiding me from above, I could literally feel him so softly above me, more like a light shining down, a hand at the top of that light. My choices through God were healthy, I was still me but more fully me, more whole.
Then there is my will, I know when I choose to ignore the holy presence, this is where it gets tricky. Its as though someone spins me around in a chair, the world opens up and the backlash is quite unpleasant, so many ways of being, none involving his full presence in me. So each time I fall, it gets a little clearer than the time before (can also be a little more painful) but I am learning so much and am so blessed to have this life experience. What God has in store for us is truly amazing.Thank you for listening to God’s voice.
Jerry L Martin July 2, 2013
People often want God to do something for them or give them breath-stopping experiences, but the most extraordinary thing is what you report — the way in which the divine presence is itself enough, more than enough even, more than we may easily be able to take in. But days lived fully with God are good days, and days lived only in the presence and in the service of our own wills, are bleak, even desperate, by comparison.