What does it mean to listen to the Mind of God, to follow God’s mind? I hear people say God has told them this or that. How does that happen?
I believe we learn of God’s mind or God’s direction in numerous ways. Some may actually hear the spoken words from God. But I think there are other ways that most of us learn of the mind of God. Scripture, creation, music, art and life’s coincidences are how I think most of us become aware.
Scripture consistently shows how God was faithful to God’s people even though they weren’t always faithful to God. Jesus taught about a loving God and he demonstrated that in his lifetime by frequent healings and forgiveness.
In the book Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality Richard Rohr wrote (p.200) that “Divine love is not determined by the worthiness of the object but by the goodness of the subject.” He adds “Jesus didn’t come to change the mind of God about humanity but to change the mind of humanity about God. “
Scripture gives us examples of God as loving, caring, patient, merciful, compassionate as well as challenging.
- Water for Hagar and Ismael when they were in the desert.
- Provided manna and water for the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert.
- Direction to Ezekiel to the mountain cave where God came to him in the quiet breeze.
- Questioning of Job where he was when God created the world
Jesus gives us many examples, too.
- Forgiving – Peter who denied him three times
- Be merciful – woman taken in adultery
- Compassionate – examples of healing – deaf man
- Caring – changing water into wine at the wedding of Cana
- Challenging –Gerasene Demoniac to go back home and recout all God had done for him.
The mind of God is a mystery. Although Scripture gives us ideas about the mind of God, I also find glimpses of the mind of God in the beauty of creation and in life’s coincidences.
When I look at nature and see the variety God created for us, I’m amazed. In just around the block where I live I see robins, finches, hummingbirds, sparrows, doves and many other birds I can’t identify. Then the variety of trees – oak, maple, evergreens, elms, poplars and others. Present are even insects such as wasps, mosquitoes, bees and others, that I admit I don’t appreciate,
Once I heard that instead of complaining that roses have thorns, one should rejoice that the thorns have roses.
What an imagination God has!
I believe that God’s mind is present in what many call coincidences. For example, after much research, I found the apartments in which I’ve lived. None were what I thought I was looking for in the beginning, but each has brought joy as well as challenges. Through all of them I’ve grown and hopefully became a more spiritual person.
A creation coincidence happened one Pentecost when a brilliant red cardinal perched on my balcony railing. This happened only once in the 17 years I lived there. It reminded me of the Spirit and the Pentecost passage in the Acts of the Apostles.
Another memorable coincidence happened when I was in the middle of a difficult four day exam. One afternoon someone had a beautiful red rose delivered to my door. This gave me hope and encouragement.
Other examples of the mind of God in our life are in music and art. Often they touch my soul and leave me in awe.
The more I’m sensitive to such coincidences, the more I open my heart to God. Then I’m aware of an inner peace and God’s help throughout life’s struggles.
Thank you for giving us glimpses of You in Scripture, creation, art, music and life’s coincidences. Help us be more sensitive and appreciative of all life and of your constant loving presence. Give us the strength to listen to and follow your guidance. Amen.