In Acts 26 Paul is talking to a man who has shown very little interest in God, and yet there is this sense in the narrative that the man (King Agrippa) leans forward as Paul tells his story. He begins with a little background, then jumps right in to the best part:
a light from heaven brighter than the sun shown down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
It is hard for you to fight against my will.”
(Acts 26:12-14 NLT)
Out of nowhere came a flash of the brightest light he’d ever seen. It was so brilliant and so powerful he couldn’t help but fall to the ground in terror. He was so traumatized by the light he couldn’t see, and refused to eat or drink for three days. (see the whole story in Acts 9)
That’s one way to hear God.
Not exactly the most intimate and comfortable, I doubt Paul asked for more of the same. In fact, I’d surmise that Paul never fully lost his fear of God’s power after that encounter in the middle of the road to Damascus. If listening to God’s voice made him blind and unable to eat or drink for several days, he may have been just a bit gun shy about hoping to hear again.
But what strikes me in his retelling of his story is side note that the words God spoke to him were in Aramaic.
Not in Hebrew, the language of religion.
Not in Greek, the language of literature.
Just in the everyday language of Paul’s life.
And that is still how God speaks. In the everydayness of our lives.
Sometimes (but not very often) He speaks loud. Booming, attention getting commands. But those are once in a lifetime messages. A last resort to get our attention or save us from ourselves.
Usually He just speaks normal.
One morning just a little while ago, on a day we’d set aside for Sabbath rest, He spoke to me like this:
Di, don’t make this day about you. Be friendly— a fun, light hearted, laughing, encouraging companion to Phil. Lighten up! This is the day I have made—
And my heart responded, Yes! I get it.
After too many hard to make decisions, my husband needed me to help him just have fun. And since fun is not exactly my middle name, God needed to speak those words to me lest I sabotage his rest by hijacking the day with more heavy stuff.
Simple, everyday Aramaic.
And so very wise and right.
All day long those words resonated in my mind. Over and over I made myself steer the conversation to fun, encouraging words. It felt as if God and I were in cahoots together to brighten Phil’s day.
We rode bikes around Sauvie Island, brought home heaps of fresh fruit and veggies, laughed and admired the beauty God was displaying that day just for us.
Are you learning to listen to those simple, everyday words He’s speaking to you? With your Bible open in your lap, your pen poised to write it down, what is He saying?
From my heart,