A voice in the wilderness: God speaking

News | December 23, 2018

Have you ever heard a love song
That set your spirit free
Have you ever watched a sunrise
And felt you could not breathe
What if it’s Him
What if it’s God speaking
– Mandisa, “God Speaking”

For as long as I can remember, God has spoken to me through nature and music. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than praise and worship, and nothing fills me with more awe than the beautiful and intricate design of our world.

From the complex network of veins and chemical processes that allow plants to pull water and nutrients from the soil, to the top of a 100-foot tree that makes energy out of sunlight and carbon dioxide, leave me wondering how anyone could believe it to be an act of random chance.

I see evidence of God’s glory and hear God’s voice in every leaf, rock, and creature. But not every wilderness is filled with trees. We call major cities “Urban Jungles” for a reason. Unlike the peace and tranquility of a forest, however, our modern day wilderness is filled with noise and distractions; distractions that can prevent us from hearing the voice of God or even knowing how to listen anymore.

Ours is a clever and determined God though, who promises to meet us where we are, and does. God can be found in all places and all situations, even in the lonely wilderness of our minds as we face depression, fear, and uncertainty.

In the Bible, God spoke to people in many ways, as a blazing bush to Moses, but also as a still small voice to Elijah. God is adaptable in how God communicates with us, and so we must be adaptable in where and how we listen. Those who seek will find, and those who listen will hear.

For me it is in the wonder of this world and the beauty of a heartfelt song. Listen and find the places where God meets you. Then, seek them out, and find comfort in God’s voice.

Jennifer Vanaria is a veterinarian in Milan. She is married to her husband Rob, and loves her fur kids, singing, and baking.

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.