If we are willing to believe that God once intervened in biblical history to rescue the Israelites through mighty deeds, speaking to them through the patriarchs and prophets as well as through the medium of thunder and lightning, fire and cloud, wind and earthquake, as well as “a gentle whisper” (1 Kgs 19:12), would not this self-revelatory God still delight in speaking to us today in analogous ways? And if we believe that in the fullness of time the Son of God was born in the flesh and blood of a human being in order to teach, forgive, heal, die on a cross, and rise in glory that we might also be raised to eternal life, may we not rightfully assume that the Gospels tell
the story of God’s ongoing love affair with us? Why have we embarked on a search for God but lost the hope of actually experiencing a world charged with the presence of God? Why do we not expect to hear God’s voice? Have we stopped listening?
Our mistake may be that we are so myopically focused on our personal needs and conflicts that we fail to take into account that God must necessarily communicate with us in every heartbeat, breath, thought, image, and action in order that we may continue to exist. The science of cosmology tells us about the birth of matter and antimatter, the stars, planets, moons, and galaxies that extend far beyond our own Milky Way, including the possibilities of multiple universes; indeed, the scenario becomes well-nigh inconceivable. These extrapolations of what might be “out there” in the vastness of space, light years beyond our ability to see or verify directly, fascinate us. And yet, if we are honest, the possibilities also terrify us. We feel lost in the
Perhaps the universe we most need to explore is “in here,” within the space of our own minds and hearts. The only physical world we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is revealed to us through the medium of our individual powers of awareness. Every one of us lives and breathes and eventually dies in a totally unique environment of perceptions and experiences. Through our consciousness, each one of us is conceptualizing and inhabiting our unique perspective on the universe every day. Certainly, each of our separate worlds interconnects intimately, constantly, and powerfully. That in itself is a mystery. And the fact that we are able to choose—to live, to love, to serve, to create, to hope (often against great odds and intolerable
difficulties)—bears witness that our individual lives are evolving within a process of creative collaboration between some power utterly beyond us and what we ordinarily consider to be “ourselves.”
If we can accept that divine reality creates us and sustains our ability to be aware in every nanosecond, then does not the very fact that we continue to exist affirm that the source of our being loves us? And if the creative power is love, then does it not long for our complete fulfillment and happiness? May we not assume that in all things, divine life is for us and not against us? And does not the Creator desire the creature to trust that the divine will is always and everywhere at work, making all things well? Divine reality is bounteous goodness, unable to contain itself. God’s self-giving is revealed not only in the stories of creation and redemption, but in a volcano
of love at every moment in time, making universe upon universe dance in space. May we not expect that this same divine reality is truly happening for us, if only we learn how to perceive its appearances, to listen for its voice?
These are questions of endless mystery and fascination. They are questions
embedded in sacred Scripture. If we are able to enter into the stories of biblical characters, relating them directly to our own lives just as we do when experiencing a film or play, then we may more easily hear God’s voice speaking through them to us, here and now. The stories of the Bible are, in fact, our own stories, although we do not usually recognize or claim them as such. Even more rarely do we expect that God communicates with us personally through the drama and the individuals of the Bible. However, if we employ imaginative techniques to explore sacred Scripture, new facets
of the divine mystery may appear to us. We may become more receptive to hearing God’s voice. And we may discover fresh insights into our own unanswered questions.
PLEASE NOTE: The excerpt above is from the Introduction to my just-published book, Suddenly There is God: The Story of Our lives in Sacred Scripture (Cascade Books, 2019). Copyright © 2019 Veronica Mary Rolf. All rights reserved. To order a copy of the book, please visit: wipfandstock.com/suddenly-there-is-god.html. This blog may not be copied or reprinted without the express permission of the author. Thank you!