"Bene, bene! Speak to me!" This was the famous saying of the Egyptian shopkeeper at my favorite Italian hang-out, when living in Aberdeen, Scotland. Ahmed liked saying this phrase so much, in fact, that it was even printed on every menu. Unfortunately, he was equally infamous for never taking the time to listen. He would say his phrase in a generous, almost pompous manner, and then walk off, satisfied with himself for having posed his request, without ever waiting for a response.
Great food though!
I must confess, that my dealings with God are often very similar. I ask God to speak to me, and then walk off, assuming that I have done my part, and that God had nothing specific to say to me that day.
Let us rethink that for a moment. This month we are celebrating The Word having become flesh (John 1:14). If Jesus is called The Word, is it not highly plausible that he wants to speak to us? In fact, all throughout the Bible, God has shown us, that his desire to be heard by us is even greater than our desire to listen. He is asking for people to stand in his council, that they should hear his word (Jer. 23:18), always revealing his plans before they come to pass (Amos 3:7). But he sadly recognizes that the ears he has made are not being used for hearing him (Ezek. 12:2).
God's main motivation is not the transfer of information, but a calling towards deeper intimacy with him. After all, he is addressing believers, when he says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me." (Rev. 3:20) God, the maker of the entire universe, seeks us out to share his secrets with us (Ps. 24:14). He wants us to listen for him, in order to have fellowship with us. What an incredible gift!
Knowing that God desires to speak, let us ask, like the Egyptian waiter, "speak to me!" But instead of rushing on, let us echo Habakkuk: "I will stand on my post and station myself on the rampart; and keep watch to see what he will speak to me. (Hab. 2:1)
It is worth the wait!