For the past several years (since 2003), I’ve been the Guide to Christian and Gospel Music for About.com. That means that six days a week there is mail in my mailbox, without fail. There is the regular stuff – letters, bills, credit card offers, etc., and then there are CDs, books, DVDs and press kits to check out for work. Some days there is so much mail coming to my house/office that the postal lady can’t fit it all in the mailbox and has to come to the front door.
I can almost hear you saying, “Yeah … so?”
The thing is, I am used to getting mail every day. I expect there to be mail in my mailbox every morning by 10 am and my postal lady never lets me down. Or at least, she didn’t until one day a couple of years ago. On that Monday morning, like clock-work, I took my coffee outside, sat it on the table on the front porch, and went to check the mail. That’s part of my routine … read the mail on the porch while drinking coffee. When there was nothing in the mail box I didn’t panic. I just thought that maybe she was running a bit late. I went out again after lunch … still no mail. After 3 PM … empty box. After 5 PM … hmmm – maybe she’s sick and they couldn’t find a replacement.
Tuesday morning rolled around and I was over my Monday frustration. I went to the mailbox expecting a double dose and … NO MAIL! I maintained, figuring that the poor woman was probably swamped after missing a day of work, and just running late. Bottom line – I must have checked the mail hourly that day and never got so much as a post card. And I didn’t know how to act.
I promise – I do have a life! (smile) I guess I really am a creature of habit.
My point here isn’t so much about the mail … it’s about the routine. My routine involves getting mail every day. When I didn’t get mail, as my routine dictates, I was really thrown a curve ball. And that is where God started working on me regarding expectations and conditioning.
I hear from record labels, managers, PR folks and bands daily, so I have come to expect it. I DON’T generally hear from God every day, so I’ve come to NOT expect to. By not expecting it, when I go a day or even a week without so much as a whisper, I don’t panic a bit, having conditioned myself for the quiet spells. I tell myself that God’s just not overly chatty. I remind myself about David, and the times he spoke of God being silent. And that works – so when 10 am rolls around every day, if I haven’t heard from God, I figure that He’s having a quiet day and don’t go back up in prayer to check my spiritual mail box until the next morning. Life keeps me busy enough that I don’t take hourly breaks to check for messages from God – yet I’ll stop what I’m doing every time I hear a car slowing down if the mailbox in front of my house has no mail.
How pathetically wrong is that? And how much of a bell is that ringing with you? Maybe not with mail, but with something?
God doesn’t take vacation days. He doesn’t take sick time or comp time. He doesn’t allot time off for coffee breaks or lunch breaks. Yet people don’t generally get panicked if they feel like He’s silent. Why do you suppose that is? Is it because we expect that God, being God, will speak to us using all of the bells and whistles available to Him to make sure that He has our attention? Is it because we listen for God in the marching bands and fireworks, but not in the gentle breeze and the silence? Are we really so hard-headed that God has to “get our attention” before we’ll tune in?
We expect …
- Psalm 29:8 (King James Version) – The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness….
So we don’t hear …
- 1 Kings 19:11-12 (King James Version) – And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
I have no doubt that the Savior of the world and the Creator of the universe speaks far more than I hear Him. And I see now that it’s more about my listening skills than His lack of communication. I need to get much more diligent about listening for God around the clock instead of giving Him one shot a day to get in touch with me.
What about you? Do you stay on top of checking your spiritual mailbox or do you need to work on that too?