Last night I listened to a pastor speak. He said he would not preach a sermon. He spoke about the Bible. He said many things. My little mind retained one thought: The Bible is God speaking, my task is listening. Listen to God speak. It is the main reason to read the Bible.
“Listen to God speak” was in my mind as my morning walk/run began today. “Speak to me God,” came from my mouth. My usual practice is to walk and pray. This morning I walked. Single words came to mind, family, wife, country, a friend, and more. I walked. I listened. While running, I listened. God is continually speaking. We drown out his voice with our constant chatter.
I am not a young man. Prayer has been a part of my life for decades. Yes, my ears have heard others say be still, listen to God speak. “Be still and know that I am God” are important words of guidance to me. But listening to God speak is not a strength of mine. God does not mind. He patiently continues to speak. He surprised me today.
Still listening, and on the cool down part of the morning’s exercise, God spoke to me. Not with words, but with an acorn. He had me kick an acorn. As it rolled in front of me, the thought came to me to pick it up. I walked. I listened and thought about how few acorns there are this season. Then I was reminded acorns come every year during this time of late summer. Some years abundantly, others like this one they are scarce. But this is the time of acorns, each year. Almost home, still listening, but now my mind pondered the consistency of the annual acorn crop. Why is it so predictable, so regular?
A word came to mind: synchronized. My walk did not begin with this idea. It came with listening. A student of nature for years, my way of describing the seasonal occurrence of natural events was to call it phenology. It means a study of the seasonal occurrence of natural events. A few steps later He surprised me again. My eyes glimpsed the complete exoskeleton of a cicada. Its life cycle ended, another creature had made a meal of its insides. But it was complete on the outside.
I picked it up. My other hand-held the acorn. I thought, “God did this too. It’s all synchronized.” Holding the acorn and the skeletal cicada, my feet carried me back to the house listening and thinking. God is the eternal Synchronizer. It is possible the cicada I held in my hand was the one I photographed 20 days earlier as it emerged from its earth home to shed its exoskeleton and become an adult.
In the evening, on a walk with my wife my eyes followed a south bound monarch as it flew 20 feet above ground toward its winter home in Mexico. My eyes also witnessed the first few scarlet red leaves on the sumac plants along our path. Later my eyes lifted to the sight of 4 night-hawk birds also winging in a southward direction. Each of these living things were moving and changing with “set your clock” by them regularity. These are the common sights of the season. They are synchronized.
Humans are able to coordinate events that occur at the same time. Perhaps we can pull off multiple events simultaneously. It is humanly impossible for us to synchronize the number of natural events occurring at the same time during this time near the end of summer and the start of fall. Hundreds of thousands of natural events are happening concurrently. The number is likely higher. When we add just a few celestial events like a solar eclipse, sunrise and set and the rotation of planets, it becomes mind-boggling.
God is the great, almighty Synchorizer.
Inside our house I read these words from the book of Daniel chapter 2, verses 20-22.
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.”
God also synchronized the birth of Jesus, his son. Jesus walked on this earth as a sinless man. He died on a cross for your sins and mine. And someday as God has synchronized, Jesus will come to earth again to bring to heaven with him all who believe in him as Savior.
Setting out to listen to God never included an acorn and an insect exoskeleton. God put them in my path. It is like him to use common things, his things. And there is no special line to heaven for me. You and I have the same means of hearing God speak. All we need do is listen, he is speaking.