The Oxford Dictionary defines revelation in its religious sense as the divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence or the world. Last Wednesday I went to my grandmother Joy Dawson’s house to have lunch and catch up. I had an idea of asking her to share for a few minutes on some spiritual topic so I could post it on my vlog. I got to grandma’s house, we had lunch, and then I asked her if she could share something for a few minutes. I explained that it could be any recent meditation or insight she’d received from the Lord, something like that.
Looking back I realize that I should have expected what happened next. Joy said she’d be delighted to but she would like to have some time to pray before to ask the Lord for a special word for the occasion. Of course I said that was fine, after all I usually try to leave several hours open when I go to visit my grandma.
So I laid down on the grass in the backyard and slipped into deep relaxation feeling like a kid in such familiar surroundings. I love her cute statues of rabbits and deer and the little bridge over a small stream. The water passes by an old orange tree that produces huge fruit in the San Fernando Valley sun.
When I woke I did’t know how much time had passed but when I found grandma she was sitting in her chair in her bedroom with the Bible open still waiting on the Lord. I asked her how it was going and she said she wasn’t feeling very well. I felt bad for putting a potential burden on her by asking her to share some kind of devotional meditation knowing that she would take the request very seriously. And for my grandma it’s not because she thinks a lot of people see my social media content, which they don’t. Joy would have spent just as much time and energy seeking the Lord if I had asked her to pray about a word for just one person.
I ended up apologizing to my grandma for putting her under pressure and suggested that she lie down and rest, which she did. And shortly after that I got back into my car and made the 1 hour trip home. The point of this post, how so many of us Christians have lost a sense of reverence and wonder for revelation from God. What an amazing thing to actually have access to and hear from the Creator God who sustains the universe with His word (He. 1:3).
Years ago I remember having a lively discussion with both my grandparents in their motorhome (which I now live in with my wife) about divine guidance and hearing the voice of God. I was arguing against the idea that we need such specific direction from the Lord as I had been brought up to believe. Looking back I feel like my perspective was simiular to the post-Enlightenment deistic understanding of God that people like Thomas Jefferson held. This is the supreme clockmaker God that creates the universe and then leaves it mostly to its own devices. I’ll never forget my papa Jim’s response. I can’t remember his exact words, but papa responded something like, “Well David, this is what we have learned, believed, and practiced”. His exact words were different, what I remember most was the look in his eyes and the tone of his voice. His manner was so gentle and yet strong with the authority of experience.
And as I think about the heritage of my family, passed down to me, regarding the practice of seeking God’s voice…. I think of the fruit in the lives of those who believe this is possible and a great privilege to be cherished. In my life, with all my postmodern ambiguity and jaded skepticism regarding God’s goodness and the perfection of His ways, the fruit pales in comparison to my grandparents’ amazing lives. My grandparents became influential leaders in the church but that’s not what I’m talking about. I refer to the joy and peace and personal evangelism and prayer lives they exemplified every time I was with them.
There are so many voices today even within the church that sow doubt in the authority of God’s word and our ability to hear His voice. I pray that I owuld experience a new revival in my belief in these things so I can pass them on to my kids. History has shown that Christian movements that lose their reverence for the doctrine of revelation – God’s supernatural communication – generally degrade into empty humanism and ultimately disappear as communities of faith altogether. Father help us to desire to hear Your voice again, and to believe that this is the urgent answer to all that eats away at the life Your promise in Your word.