During the spring and summer around here the water is white, deep and rushing, eroding the soil and smoothing the rocks. It is September though, and so we picked our way down the eroded sides and sat on the smooth rocks, surrounded by white and rushing shallow water. It didn't feel like we were shouting over the rapids, but when we'd brushed off our jeans and climbed back to the trail our own voices felt unnaturally loud.

(When I am home, I sit on this rock sometimes. And I love it.)

I have been thinking about the voices in my head recently. This is better than talking back to them, so I console myself with that thought in the meantime. I have grown accustomed to other voices being unnaturally loud in my life (unnatural, because what about spirituality is natural?).

The Bible, of course: I tote mine around in a my bag of choice, its edges rough, the leather peeling back and its binding taped more than once. Pages are taped too. Sections fall out. I piece them back together. I am a sentimental fool when it comes to this precious book. It has weathered almost the entirety of my Christian Walk. I stand on it, live by it, swear by it, weep with it, hide from it, argue with it, and drink from it.

A document saved as Prophetic Words: It dates back to the spring of 2000, before I knew what prophetic was, when a man walked passed me and doubled back to put his hand on my shoulder and tell the boy next to me that my ministry someday would be a prophetic one. I laughed behind my hand and sat down uncomfortably. Throughout the past eight years that document has filled with dozens of confirmations and encouragements, predictions and promises. I trust in the Lord, but I'm glad that He speaks through men.

There is one voice, however, that feels naturally quiet though. And that is the voice of the Lord to me.

I sat on the back porch the other day and bargained with God: If you can tell me something and it comes true, then, then I'll believe you. Otherwise, you're turning me into a disillusioned, bitter soul with all this talk of promises and all this empty return.

And He brought me up from the valley, where His voice felt unnaturally loud. Because I've been so accustomed to straining to hear it amongst all the other noise.

And He reminded me of those times when He did speak and I did know. And showed me things I'd forgotten, promises that haven't returned void, just because they haven't been completed. And, honestly, I won't lie: it's hard to trust Him.

It's hard to remember promises He's made to me, things I know that He spoke, it's hard to keep trusting for those things. Because things look bleak. Grey. Dull. Impossible. Improbable. Disheartening.

But it isn't hard to remember that He speaks. I just have to get to a place where He doesn't have to shout to be heard.

Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.

September 2008