Tuesday, June 27, 2017
DIVINE COUNSELING SERVICE
I thought I was unique in discovering this spiritual secret for myself, but David the Psalmist King and Samuel the prophet definitely beat me to it.
The non-secret? God often, even habitually, chooses the night seasons in which to communicate with those who know Him, whom He knows, and who are on intimate terms with Him.
Throughout the Scriptures we read of God speaking with specific instructions through dreams and visions. Granted our dreams are not always sacred and directive or are meant to be taken seriously. They may be the result of pizza and ice cream before bedtime or indigestion from a late, rich, heavy dinner. It takes discernment to recognize the voice of the Lord or our complaining tummy.
In this reflection I'm not talking about dreams anyway. Rather, a state of heart and mind when one deliberately opens himself up to God when alone, still in bed. In my experience it is during the hour or so just before becoming fully awake and aware after a good night's sleep. Or even after a sleepless night.
I'm in a sort of twilight zone where I'm relaxed and at rest, but my spiritual consciousness is alert and receptive to God's guidance spirit to spirit. Nothing spooky or mystical about that. I have discovered that for me that is the time of my day/night when God shows up to communicate His counsel or guidance to me by strong but gentle impressions.
By an act of my will, however, I must invite Him to speak just as young Samuel was instructed by Eli to do in the book of First Samuel chapter three. God doesn't force Himself upon us. We must want to hear Him, to do His will, to follow His leading. So I mentally or out loud invite Him, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening." God's voice is not audible with my human ears, only with the ears of my heart. Jesus often repeated, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." I do qualify, despite my electronic hearing aids.
I looked up all the many passages in the online concordance where King David so often spoke of God communicating with him at night while he was in bed. Was he just lazy and not disciplined enough to get up and pray to God when he was awake and alert and knew what he was doing? I don't think that is a valid conclusion to draw. I believe David was tapping in on a different encounter with God in the night seasons and letting us in on a valuable secret.
I compared different translations to get at the precise meaning of what he was getting at. Psalm 16:7 is one of the richest verses from which we may learn. "I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me." Other translations include: "knowledge comes to me from my thoughts in the night; God advises me; He instructs me in the depths of my mind; in my inmost being; even at night I feel His leading." Psalm 17:3 adds the thought, "Thou hast visited me in the night" and 63:6 "I remember Thee upon my bed and meditate on Thee in the night watches. If I'm sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection."
I speak only from my own experience. During the pre-awakening time of the day when there are no distractions of busy life to give my spirit any interfering static, God can get through to me. My spirit gives Him undivided attention. I don't ask Him to reveal to me His general will. I know that already. The Scriptures and the teachings of the Church from the days of the Apostles are clear. I want to receive His specific, personal instructions, counsel, advice for myself for the day ahead which He has generously set before me. I want to please Him and live it His way. It is while in this sweet and precious twilight time that I receive the impressions of His guidance for whom to call or write, and what to do, as I understand it. Yes, during that time most of my blog posts are composed and my writing ideas for my books are formed.
Some people declare that God's "voice" doesn't come through for them clearly. Are you old enough to remember the "rabbit ears" antennas used for early TV reception before satellites and "dishes" and wireless? You had to keep fiddling with them to adjust them before the snowy background on the screen locked in a good picture and clear sound.
I visualize the rabbit ears as upraised arms in surrender asking "Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening." We might need some adjusting in our spiritual lives and relationship with the Lord like the rabbit ears antennas before there will be no static or snow, nothing to hinder hearing His voice clearly through night seasons impressions.
Jesus declared, "My sheep [My human ones] hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me" (John 10:9). That's a promise, yet it has a condition: Am I committed to follow what He instructs me in the night seasons?
As for me, I plan to keep availing myself of that bountiful pre-awakening hour for "Divine Counseling Service"