Dr. Willard writes of six ways that God addresses people.
The first is God performs some action and people hear His voice.
Today people have doubts about this I think. In the Old Testament there are numerous examples of this happening and Dr. Willard refers to those: Moses/the burning bush/God speaks; Abraham/his sacrifice/God speaks; Ezekiel/the whirlwind of God/God speaks.
In the New Testament, Dr. Willard cites Jesus’s baptism and Saul’s conversion as God acting and speaking examples.
This raises the question, does God act and speak today?
Dr. Willard does not comment on this method of communication from God other than to say it happened in the Bible.
Why can’t it happen today?
We hear of people reporting God’s audible voice. We hear reports of God’s signs to man. But today, does God do something and speak to man at the same time; like burn a bush and talk to man?
I am sure that if you search the internet you will find some person who has stepped forward to report a God act and an accompanying God voice.
How are we to respond to that?
Today we live in world that is full of doubt. Maybe God acting and speaking is just more than we can accept, but our doubt today is triggered by more than the lack of a God manifestation and a God voice.
Many people today feel like God is distant in their lives. They are not seeking Him for various reasons.
1.people feel like they are doing fine on their own; thank you very much. We all go through good periods in life where things are going right but some folks think that they are on a constant “roll” and it is due to their efforts alone. At least that is what they believe.
2.people may think they are Christian and are saved but are they? What happens when a person is brought to the altar and they give their life to Christ? They seek Him. They seek Him the rest of their lives. I recently read the words of a pastor who expressed his greatest frustration: seeing “dehydrated” Christians struggling in life. Why are they dehydrated? They are no longer seeking Him or when they gave their life to Christ, no one told them that it was not just a “one shot deal.” You go to the altar, express your need for Jesus and you are done. Wow is this person wrong.
3.people like their “carnal pleasures” too much. I am not going to go into great details here because I will ignite cries of hypocrisy from readers but all of us know what our carnal pleasures are. We know what our struggles are. They are real. Some people struggle with them but others just embrace them and don’t want to give them up. This type of person does not want a word from God. This type of person is afraid the word from God will be “STOP!” This type of person is afraid that the action could be a punishment for pursing carnal pleasures.
4.there are so many high profile vague communicators out there today. Yesterday I was reading about one of the highest profile people today who was talking about her “spirituality”—Oprah. [I am not just picking on her; there are many celebrities who struggle with claiming Jesus as God]. I read her comments about God and I was left with a feeling that she had a concept of our Christian God at one time but now she has a mix of all types of spiritual concepts in her life. She spoke of her life as a child in the Baptist Church, she spoke of her rigid zealotry about sinning when she commented on all the sins she saw [as a child], she talked of her pregnancy at the age of 14 and how that caused her to doubt the reason for her existence, she talked of being moved by the services of T.D. Jakes, the sermons of Joel Osteen and the words of President Obama at Mother Emmanuel’s funeral service for the Charleston Nine.
Here is where she lost me. The interviewer asked her if she believed in the Christian God and she waffled. She seemed to focus on the exclusion clause, John 14:6 when “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
She is a woman who has experienced a lot in her life. She has encountered people of many faiths and she wants to include them all in her worldview.
I am going to be truthful. I have struggled with that same problem too. Yet as I have worked with Scripture more, prayed more and have sought God more, I have a sense of peace about faiths other than mine. I am not a person who will condemn other faiths publicly but I know the way to God and it is not a watered down version of all beliefs. I believe in the narrow gate but I would rather not offer unsolicited evaluations of others’ beliefs. If asked, I will explain my Christian worldview and let others have theirs. Since I don’t count myself among the celebrities, in most instances I let my faith speak for itself in my actions. I don’t have a far-reaching public forum.
In short, I am not Oprah.
I am a person with little impact. She is not. She is a very public vague communicator. She says “I believe I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future. I know who and what holds the future. I trust that beyond this space and time all is well and all will be well.”
Let’s stop beating up on Oprah. One can easily insert our Christian God in her comments but she refuses to come out and say that.
What do the vague comments do? They allow many people to interject all types of faith in the statement. Also they are not the strong statements that a Christian doubter needs to hear.
She is not the only high profile vague person out there. The world is full of people who command the stage and they just can’t tell others that our Christian God is the Light of their life.
Dr. Willard speaks of God acting and God speaking.
Could God act and speak to us today? I think He can. I think He does.
Is it one of the most commonly mentioned forms of communication that God uses? Maybe not. Most people refer to Bible accounts when they discuss God speaking and acting.
But I have to believe. If God wants to speak and act, He can do it.
He is God.