Nestled at the core of every religion is the assumption that we are meant to give ourselves to God, join His “side,” if you will. Life lived right is a life oriented around God. “He must become greater. I must become less,” as the bushy bearded John the Baptist said. We must serve God.
Which begs the question, “How is it we are supposed to know what He wants us to do?”
I mean, He is silent and invisible, after all. It’s not like He leaves a sticky note on your bathroom mirror each morning so you’ll see “God’s To Do List For Today” while you’re shaving.
Let’s review our options.
One, we could hear the audible voice of God. Obviously, this is a non-starter. When someone tells us they hear the audible voice of God we think they only have one oar in the water, that they’re one taco shy of a combo platter.
Number two, we could lean on a sacred text. This really isn’t much better. Every sacred text out there leaks like a sieve. I mean, look at Christianity. Jesus never wrote down any instructions for his apostles. And the apostles never wrote down any instructions for us. Most Christian dogma comes from the writings of Paul, and he never even met Jesus. And the Book of Mormon—don’t get me started on the Book of Mormon! Really.
Three, God could speak to us through that Still, Small Voice that scripture speaks of—that inkling that we’re headed in the right or wrong direction. “I feel a peace about this,” so many believers say when explaining their decision to take a particular course. Here’s the problem with the Still, Small Voice. It’s always what we would have decided left to our own intuition. In fact, I’d go further: It is our intuition—and it’s usually over trifling matters. When the problem’s really thorny, we just end up throwing our hands in the air and taking our best guess.
(I’m sorry, but I must throw out Mormon tidbit. I read about 50 books on Mormonism to research my novel, so I’m just chock full of these things. When the Mormon prophet Spencer Kimball was personally troubled by the church’s long-held doctrine of excluding black men from the priesthood in the late 70s, he sought out the will of God by entering into earnest prayer. He had the other apostles join in. No word, though—neither audible nor of the Still, Small variety. So here’s what Kimball did. He told Heavenly Father that he was going to go ahead and remove the ban unless Heavenly Father interceded and told him not to. Heavenly Father didn’t, and Kimball lifted the ban on black men. It was a Revelation of Omission. There’s the Still, Small Voice in action for you.)
Four, God could speak to us through other people. This one doesn’t go anywhere, either. Turns out everyone else is as in the dark about what God wants as we are, so they’re no help.
So . . . how in the world do we know what God wants us to do? Turns out, believers are just doing the same thing non-believers do when it comes to making life choices: making it up as they go along and hoping for the best.
What more could you possibly expect from the God Who Hides?
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