Before we dive into Chapter 3, I want to thank God so, so much that we get to be in His presence. Think about it. The Lord–who split the Red Sea, who put a big, red superstorm on Jupiter and the most beautiful rings in the galaxy around Saturn, who invented the smell of roses, who thought “Hey, I just made pythons, parrots, pandas, and penguins. Before I make people, I’m gonna make platypuses. I AM such a genius!”–is Our Father. Our Redeemer. The best parent and the best friend we could ever want.
From chapter 2: “The secret place is your portal to the throne, the place where you taste heaven itself.” Remember when the prophet Isaiah was swooped up into the presence of God? The angels shouted “Holy! Holy! Holy!” (and they’ll be doing it for ever and ever). Isaiah knows he shouldn’t be there, his sinful presence in the throne room would be dishonoring God who is without blemish. But because of Jesus, because we believe in Jesus, we are literally in The Father’s throne room again. Heaven is where God reigns, is it not? If we are crucified with Christ and it is Christ who lives in us, then we are in Heaven. Do you think “Heaven Come” by Jenn Johnson is flowery poetry? It’s journalism. So next time you hear Bethel’s “Glory to Glory” when they get to the lyrics “We’ll shout an anthem singing / Holy, holy” actually shout it out. Because we too can know we are right beside those angels saying the exact same thing.
That aside, on to Chapter 3, the Secret of Listening. I think it is important to remember that just because God is God, He stills wants us to have a conversation with Him in the same way as we have with people, who are not God. Sorge writes what the Holy Spirit impressed on him. “The word ‘hear’ is the most important word in the Bible! The most important treasures in the kingdom are predicated upon the necessity of hearing God.” Furthermore, to listen to God and then do what He tells us to do is “the wellspring of eternal life; the fountainhead of kingdom power and authority; the source of wisdom, understanding, and life direction.”
“Things don’t change when I talk to God; things change when God talks to me. When I talk, nothing happens; when God talks, the universe comes into existence. So the power of prayer is found, not in convincing God of my agenda, but in waiting upon Him to hear His agenda.”
I think we can all agree that if we do all the talking in the secret place nothing is ever accomplished. C.S. Lewis had a profound way with language, and there was nothing he could possibly write that would make God think “Hmm, never thought of it that way.” That being the case, what hope do the rest of us have when we try to sweet talk the God of the Universe?
God uses words in my own vocabulary to reach me; there are no Shakespearean sonnets in our conversations. He probably does the same with you, unless you are an English major. Yet why is it that when God says something to us we treat it as if was totally beyond us? I say “I love you” to you–how sweet of you to say. God says “I love you” to you–you’re on the ground making a puddle with your tears! Because it’s God’s voice! He’s so powerful He drives a wedge right through our pain with the simplest words in the English language.
Then, of course, begs the question why we sometimes don’t hear God in our secret place. Even when the door is closed and there are no distractions nearby, there’s total silence. Sorge writes, “Most days I come away with unfulfilled longings, unrequited initiatives, unanswered prayers, unrealized aspirations, deferred hopes, and incomplete understandings.” He continues, “along comes one of those days when heaven leans over and God speaks a word directly to the heart.” Take heart, you may not hear anything at this moment, but you are not being ignored or rejected.
Sorge concludes this chapter by offering you his advice to take into your secret place a notepad for recording everything that comes into your head. My advice to you is, wherever your secret place is do not take any electronic devices with you. If your secret place is the closet, take no chances and put everything that could be distracting out of the bedroom and into the den. One does not simply text in the throne room.
-Sam Darby, Connect