Hungry for God
- Wednesday, June 15, 2011
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Hungry for God by Margaret Feinberg (Zondervan).
An Unforgettable Invitation
As a child I climbed out of bed early each morning, walked into the living room in footie pajamas, and encountered a familiar scene: my mom sitting on the couch reading her Bible. The image is one of my fondest childhood memories. Though my parents taught me countless lessons about God while I was growing up, the sight of my mom perched on the sofa searching the Scriptures was the most powerful. Each morning as she studied and prayed, she gave me a portrait of what it looks like to forage for the divine.
Both of my parents taught me what it means to turn life’s routines into adventures and how to keep one’s ears attuned to God along the way. Free spirits who embarked on new undertakings every few years, my parents went from manufacturing surfboards in Florida to building their own end-of-the-world home in North Carolina to living as ski bums for a winter in Colorado — never shying away from new exploits. Because they weren’t attached to a particular denomination, we attended a different type of church wherever we lived. At each new place of worship, I always liked asking the people we met a question: How do you hear from God?
The answers were as diverse as the people I asked, and most answers left me more confused. Some didn’t seem to worry all that much about hearing from God. One pastor told me, “You just know deep down inside.”
“But how do you know?” I’d protest.
Others relied on spiritual language. One bubbly churchgoing woman described having something she called a “check in her spirit.” Still others claimed to hear from God all day every day, as if they had a Commissioner Gordon – style red phone at home with a direct connection to God’s heavenly secretary. These people scared me.
When I asked my mom about hearing from God, she used much of the same language as everyone else. I knew her words were genuine; but still what she said didn’t compute.
None of it was getting through my overly inquisitive tenyear- old skull, and Mom could tell. That’s when she decided to try something different. We prayed together, asking God to speak and reveal himself to me.
I had no idea such a simple prayer could be so powerful.
One Sunday, the children’s lesson was on how the name of Jesus has power and authority. That night I dreamt I was cornered on the edge of a steep, rugged cliff by a pack of wolves. The ravenous animals snarled; their sharp ivory teeth snapped. If I didn’t do something, I would be torn apart. I remembered the words of my Sunday school teacher and cried out, “In the name of Jesus, go away.”1 Like a hand, an invisible sweeping motion shoved the wolves over the side of the cliff. Then I woke up.
God turned a simple dream into a concert hall where he could sing about the power of his Son’s name. The experience taught me that God was real, active, and engaged in my life, and I didn’t need to ascend a magical mountaintop to meet with him. The dream stirred my hunger to know God more and illustrated just how personal God is when it comes to speaking to us. Not only am I a visual learner, but I’m also a visual communicator. God knew this, and in his love used the images of dreams to make himself real to me.
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