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What’s In a Name? November 18, 2014

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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My name is Michael.  “Michael comes from the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha’el) meaning ‘who is like God?’ This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God.”  Up to this point in my life I have only proven the answer to the question is “not me.”

In my car today, I forced myself to leave the radio tuned to the last station I randomly selected.  I use a scanner instead of the programmed buttons.  Sometimes I’ll pick classical music in the morning and I usually change it for the evening commute.  I say “forced myself” because today, it was a Christian music format and lately I’ve been frustrated with my life and with God’s very quiet responses to my prayers.  I’ll assume for sanity’s sake that the answers have been “wait,” rather than “no.”  The answers need to be “yes” sometime, or I don’t know what I’ll do.  Life’s pressures only increase.

I think my mom told me once that there is some comfort to be had in Matthew 6:34.  “Each day has enough trouble of its’ own.”  The word “trouble” is rendered as “evil” in the King James English.  She read that and said God controls the amount of evil released on a given day.  I’ve been frustrated with that as well.  The Christianese cliche is that God only gives us what He knows we can handle.  I hate that expression, and I wish He would just let it be easier.

Why do bad things happen to good people?  The Christianese answer to that is that “He causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”  Just because I might be considered “good” doesn’t exempt me from facing my share of rain.  The concept of me being “good” makes me laugh.  An evil laugh.  Because I’m not, by my own judgement or standards, “good.”  But still, I do count myself to be one of God’s Children.

Those success preachers just flashed through my head.  They tell me God wants me and all of His followers to be rich, successful, happy, contented, productive.  Well, a few of those are true.  But not all.  If all were true, I’d be rich and successful.  If all were true, every Christ-follower would be rich and successful.  They’re not.  They’re subject to economic whims just like rainstorms.  Just like those who don’t follow Christ.

So while I’m waiting on the “yes,” sometimes I get discouraged listening to Christian radio, because the message says I should be happy, contented, faithful, and it also says God is trustworthy, faithful, and wants what is best for me.  It says I should know God has “plans for [me…], to prosper and not harm… (Jeremiah 29:11).”  I heard the announcer say that and I almost shut it off.  But I didn’t.  I was busy concentrating on the icy roads today and changing stations wasn’t exactly the first thing on my mind while trying not to slide into the cars in front of me at the intersections and stop lights.  Sometimes I hear pastors, deacons, and even “Christian” stations even say that God wants me to be successful and rich.  That doesn’t sit well.

I’m done with the cliches, the trite answers given by Christ-following friends, because they either don’t fit the situation or they don’t reassure me like my more faith-filled friends.  They have a set of “go-to” verses.  I used to, but I don’t any more.  I need a new set of verses for me.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve been asking God for certain reassurances and I hear the lyrics and the sermons saying how God wants to give us that, and it irritates me some more.  I’d like to know God cares, because I watched the evening news yesterday and then went back to my own personal issues, and none of it gave me any reassurance.  But today.

Today I left the station on, and I heard my name.   It was in a song.  Not my name as in my given name, but my name as the question.  It felt like God was calling to me, and like Samuel in the Old Testament, I replied, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

So I’m reassured in some weird way, like I feel like I know God knows I’m listening.  That’s a rambling sentence.  Parse that, grammarians.  I think God was responding by using my name.  It’s pretty strange, like Bumblebee’s (yep a “Transformers” reference) radio.  It doesn’t always feel like it’s an exact thing, but I felt like God was there and knew I was there too, and He knows I’m here waiting for further instructions.

Anyway, God, if you really ARE aware that I’m listening, could you help me hear the next thing in an obvious way?  What comes after You call me?  What am I supposed to feel?  What am I supposed to know?  And then, what am I supposed to do?

Ever felt like you were called by God and didn’t know what the next thing was?  I’m ashamed to say I’ve been in this situation for a while.  I know there’s something I’m supposed to do, but I don’t know quite exactly what it is.

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