(The importance of getting it right when you ask the tough questions.)
God I’ve got a difficult subject to discuss with you. People aren’t going to like it.
Welcome to the club. Anyone who tries to hear my voice, I mean hear it so clearly they could run their lives by it – they get in trouble.
Because hearing me that clearly threatens those who don’t.
God even that will get people’s backs up, make them think I’m saying that about myself.
Mark anyone can hear me as clearly as you, clearer if they want. It’s up to them. You’re nothing special in that regard. The other problem with listening to me is that I will tell you things no one’s ever heard before, and before you get too excited, that’s in the bible. I said it to Jeremiah – ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things that you don’t know anything about.’
That will worry people too God. Actually it will reeaally worry them. Us Christians like to stick with what we already know, we don’t like you saying stuff that doesn’t fit with what we already know.
Yes that’s what you Christians are like. But of course that’s not what the bible teaches. Read Paul’s letters and you’ll see that the things he heard from me were new to him. Although a great authority on scripture, I kept telling him things he knew nothing about.
Ok well I have a subject I need to ask you about God. Christians won’t like it, it’s tabu, they’ll think it’s not something one should ever ask you.
Mark every subject is one that you should ask me. The bible calls me ‘Mighty Counsellor’. So ask your question.
You already know what I’m going to ask God.
Yes, but I still ask Mark, it shows respect, starts a conversation. Remember what I said to Elijah when he ran from Jezebel; “What are you doing here Elijah?” I knew exactly what he was doing there, but I wanted to talk to him at his level.
God can you stop changing the subject, it’s as though you don’t want to discuss this.
Of course I do, but there’s time Mark. I love these conversations. I like poking subjects in the gaps when you take a breath, but fire away, ask your question.
(Smiling to myself) Man, I gotta like you God. OK here’s my question: I heard about a lady who came to hear Miriam and I teach at a church, we taught them how to have a conversation with you, and when she tried hers she thought she heard you say to leave her husband. So she did.
What’s the problem Mark?
GOD!!! You know what the problem is.
Yes of course, it’s a big problem, but I want to see if you know.
Well it’s huge God, I’m guessing her husband’s life has been completely destroyed, he’s probably even considered suicide, and I don’t know if there are any kids, but they’ll be scarred forever too.
God the wife will probably say the kids are happier now there’s no strife in the home, but that’s a cop out, any counsellor can tell you that. Everyone suffers huge damage in a marriage split. And then of course the Christians will say there is no way that you would ever tell someone to leave their husband. It’ll be a big mess. Although I imagine the wife is very happy, she’s out of a hurtful situation and probably telling herself you said she could.
And what do you say Mark?
Well I think it would be rare for you do so, that’s just me. The situation would have to be pretty terrible I think, but I’ve learned it’s dangerous to say “God would never say”…
I learned that years ago when a Pastor’s advisor told me I didn’t hear from God.
What happened to you is common Mark. Write it down. I want it recognised for what it is. It cripples you Christians. You live by rules and assumptions and forget to ask me.
Ok well our church had a big conference and the pastor urged us all to attend. So I planned to go, and as the conference approached I asked you if I should, and you said I should attend the first meeting…
Yes I did.
Ok good, but you said I should spend the rest of that weekend doing other things.
Ok well the pastor’s advisor said that proved I didn’t hear from God. He said the pastor is God’s voice to the church – so if the Pastor says go to conference, then that’s what God is saying, no questions asked.
Yes exactly what God??
Yes you were right to be horrified at such a comment.
Ok so God this lady thought you said to leave her husband – did you…actually no I don’t want to know!
Good. That’s not your place to ask, it’s her place to challenge me, to demand again and again to know whether she heard me right. And the longer she leaves it to do that, the more damage she will do.
But will she want to God?
That’s not your business either Mark. That’s between her and me too.
But God I feel like I need to explain a bit to people about how to hear you on tricky subjects like this. The potential to get it wrong is high if they’re in a marriage that’s hurting them and they feel they can’t go on.
It’s not your place to explain Mark, it’s mine.
Ok, well are you going to??
Here? Like right now??
Right now. Here’s how it works Mark. All those subjects – a woman who’s under pressure to abort her baby, a man who feels unloved by his wife and wants out, a teenager who wants to leave home, an old person who sees no hope and wants to end it all, a woman who thinks she’s gay and thinks I hate her.
No matter how difficult your situation, you can talk to me about it without fear of reprimand, or accusation. Don’t come to me and apologise, come and tell me how you feel. ‘No condemnation to those in Christ Jesus’ does NOT require sinless behaviour. If you’re in me, you’re in me, no matter what you just did or are planning to do. I talked to Cain before and after what he did.
So we just do whatever we like and you don’t mind??
Of course not Mark. I worry for you when you do things that harm you.
Will all those things you just listed harm a person?
Not all of them will harm, but all of them can.
God you’re supposed to be mad as hell about sin and operating a no-tolerance policy toward it. I’m at the top of the cult watch site in NZ because they say Miriam and I are heretics. Their blood boils when they hear the way you seem lenient when you talk to me.
What sort of God would I be if I couldn’t talk to people about those things? What sort of father would I be if I didn’t crouch down at their level, look them in the eye and ask how they were feeling - not tell them off, just put my arm around them and ask how they were feeling?
You Christians won’t let me be like that, you want me to be mad. Some of you even think I’ll send someone to hell if they take their own life. But if one of your kids were in any of those situations, you’d just want to sit with them. Maybe cry with them, maybe offer suggestions.
I wouldn’t be critical??
Not of your own kids no.
But I am of others God. Let’s be honest.
Yes. But with me there are no ‘others’ Mark. Everyone is my kid. So when they are in those situations I’m not that God you all want me to be. I’m not the judge. I’m the servant God.
So God are you saying if a person feels like you say to leave their partner, they should do it?
What then God?
If a woman thinks I’m saying to leave her husband she can just leave - or she can do something else.
What’s that God?
She can challenge me on it. Ask and ask. Like you teach people to do. It’s what the bible says in Matthew 7:7. She needs to test the spirits – what she’s hearing is either my Spirit or the enemy’s and she needs to test that – vigorously. She needs to have the wisdom to realise that the stakes are so high, the potential damage so vicious, that it’s critical she spend the time required to get this right.
She doesn’t have to. She can just fly the coup the moment she thinks I say to do so, or she can test the spirits. Ask, ask and ask again. It depends how serious she is about hearing my voice. Does she want to hear my voice, or is she just looking for an out and ready to jump the moment she thinks she has one?
But what do most do Mark?
Well the moment you say ‘they can’, they run with that. That’s all they wanted from you, permission. They don’t really want to know what you think.
So why would I say ‘they can’?
Because they can, Moses made that clear. And you never force your will on them. So they can, and you’ll tell them that if they ask, but that doesn’t mean you want them to. What you want is a conversation. You want them to ask. You want them to say “Yes, but shall I God?”
What did you do when Miriam left and you thought I said she’d be back?
I asked again and again to make sure.
About twice an hour. Sorry but I did.
No sorries Mark, I loved it. You know that already.
Ok so that’s about 32 times a day God. And I did it for five years before she came back, which is 58,400 times. It was a serious situation God, I wanted to be sure I’d heard you, it would hurt too many people if I got it wrong.
I wrote down the question and wrote back your answer in faith every time, and I could never get you to say anything else but that she would come back. It was driving me mad.
What else did I say?
That our separation was my doing and that I needed a whole lot of time to change and Miriam needed a whole bunch of time to heal from the damage I had done to her.
Mark the woman who thinks I say to leave, and the husband whose life is destroyed when she does, both need to hear this conversation you’re having with me. In a situation like this everyone is to blame. They both need to accept that.
Ok well the other thing you told me was that Miriam would come back, but that you weren’t going to make her.
How did you know for sure I had said those things Mark?
Well at first I wasn’t sure.
So how did you get sure?
I asked. Again and again and again. And then all over again. Eventually I realised that either I was totally deceived or you really had said that.
How long did that take?
Maybe the first three years God, of asking at least 32 times a day, probably more. And also, because the subject was such a biggie, I showed my conversations with you to others and asked their opinion. I wanted to hear you clearly on the subject.
So God are you saying that someone who thinks you’re saying to leave their husband or wife should ask you 36 times a day for three years?
No. I’m saying they should ask me until they could look me in the eye and say they are confident I am saying to do it, even with the damage their choice will do.
There aren’t any rules Mark. But if you wanted to make a rule for yourself it would be listen to me. If you want to live your life listening to me you’d better be prepared to ask and ask and ask until you know what I’ve said. Otherwise you should just get on with normal Christianity and only hear me from time to time in nudges and impressions.
My marriage came crashing down and me with it. The devastation began sinking in and me with it. Nothing I knew was the same anymore. It was horrible and I was terrified. I threw my pride to the wind and screamed (literally) to God.