Apr 22, 2010

A letter from God?

Back in 2003 I was going through a time of great uncertainty and doubt. I have always struggled with belief in God. As a pastor, that bothered me for obvious reasons. It bothered me a lot. And it should have bothered me. I don’t count my doubts as some kind of virtue or a sign that I'm being authentic. I wanted to believe. I tried to believe. And most of the time I did believe. But there would be these periods of time when doubts assailed me.

In the middle of doubting, I didn't know what else to do, so I just carried on. I preached, I taught, I read the scriptures, I prayed, and I tried to serve others faithfully in God's name. I had good days and bad.

It was in one of my darker times of uncertainty that someone left a comment on my blog and signed it as God. He or she actually signed it as YHWH, which is the English equivalent of the Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew word for the name of God.

This is what the comment said:

Hi. It's God. I thought I’d drop in and say hello.

Don’t expect me to do this very often. There are 5 million blogs and if I start posting comments on them all...you understand. That sort of thing gets out of hand real fast. And I have a Me-awful amount of work to do as it is.

I'll be here, though. I'm the original Lurker, after all.

I did want to clear up a couple of things. First, Jason: When is it appropriate to speak as God? Good question. Here's the short list:

When you see suffering. When you see pain and hunger. When you see homelessness. When you hear cries in the night and wonder. You have My permission to speak as Me then, Jason, and I have faith that you will. I made you in My image for a reason, you know.

Now, RLP. This may seem obvious, but I think you need to hear it. I know you. I know when every sparrow falls. I might not lose much sleep over it, but I know.

I know your heart and your pain. I know your joys. I know your dark nights. I know you find it had to believe in me sometimes. I’m okay with that. You think that I would rather have a sunny-dispositioned, unquestioning, overconfident preacher? You have a ministry here, son. You're going to have bad days. I believe in YOU; that's enough.

With you I am well pleased, Preacher. Which is why I stopped by.

Because before this, before Bill Gates and Intel, before Turing and Pascal, before the Enlightenment and the Renaissance, before the Middle Ages and before the Crusades, before sand and seas, when there was a great void upon the earth, before everything: I knew that you would need Me today.

That's how it works, BTW.

Be nice to each other, people.

Ciao.

YHWH

I sat staring at the comment in stunned silence. I read it three or four times. Then I burst into tears and cried like a baby. Because once, years before, someone had asked what I would want God to say to me. I said that more than anything I’d like to know that God was okay with me and my life and what I was doing. I didn't even need God to be pleased with me. Just okay with me would be enough.

I mean, just to know that would be so nice. Such a relief. Such an incredible comfort.

But I knew God hadn't really left this comment…

Or did I know that? What with my deepest desire laid bare on the computer screen and all the crying, I didn’t know what to make of this comment. On the one hand, I felt certain that someone has just left the comment hoping to make me feel better. On the other hand, it seemed like the sort of thing God might do. Kind of unexpected and mysterious. On yet another hand, I figured God had better things to do than comfort me, what with all the suffering children around the world. But on a fourth hand, it is GOD we’re talking about here. So multi-tasking wouldn’t be a problem.

Suddenly I had four hands, a comment from God on my blog, and tears running down my face. Honestly, I didn’t know what to think or believe or feel.

I wanted to leave a thank you comment, but I was embarrassed. I didn’t want people to think I was unsophisticated and gullible and all that. I didn’t want people to know that I thought it might actually be God. So instead I wrote a response and filed it away on my computer where I keep private things I’ve written. And I forgot about it until I found in the other day. Years have gone by and somehow it seems okay now to put this response online.

So here it is, seven years later. I’m finally ready to respond to that comment.

Okay, I know that you're just someone out there who decided to write some very nice things to us. I know that you aren't God.

I'm pretty sure you aren't God.

You aren’t God, are you? If you are, I’m sorry for doubting you. That seems to be kind of a common theme in my life. You know me, never sure about anything. But I mean, it was very God-like of you to leave us a comment and then go away. Very God-like to leave us with a little inspiration, a touch of mystery, and a lot of questions.

But you're not God. I know that. I do. I really do.

I really, really, really, really do know that.

I'm pretty sure I think I know that. I mean, I DO know that. Yeah. So...

<sigh>

But the thing is, I want you to be God. You're saying things that speak to my heart at such a deep level. I don't know who you are, but you're saying just the right things to me on this night when I came home late again from church and am wondering whether or not you want me to be a pastor.

See, yours is the voice I wish God had. Yours are the words I wish God would say to me.

So I ask myself, how do we hear from God? How have we heard from God in the past?

The only thing we have are the voices of people who claim to speak for God. Some of these voices were written down long ago and we carry them in the book we cherish. Some voices come from angels who speak to us at just the right moment.

So whoever you are, you are all we have and all we have ever had.

And you are enough for me tonight.

Thank you.

Your very own Gordon.

Reader Comment