So I signed my daughter Irene up for a ministry called “LieBusters” at the David’s Tent worship festival.
Five minutes in, her “LieBuster” asks her, “What is God saying to you?”
Irene sits there, taken aback, and then tears stream down her face.
“Nothing. I can’t hear a thing. I didn’t know it was going to be interactive.”
The leader: “Oh my goodness. What did you expect?”
Irene: “I don’t know. My parents signed me up.”
The leader: “Oh my goodness! Do you know Christ? Or do your parents expect me to bring you to Christ too?”
Irene: “I know Christ.”
Leader: “Well, you never know. Some parents expect me to convert their children. Parents can be mean.”
* * *
The leader then prays for her to be able to hear God’s voice, and reader, she does.
“I heard God loads, mum, in words, and in pictures too. Mainly pictures.”
She was radiant with happiness.
* * *
Now, reader, while Irene was going through her session, I was going through a LieBuster session of my own.
And every few minutes, the leader asked, “What is the Lord saying to you? What do you see?”
And like an eager, overachieving student, I felt an answer was expected of me.
And so I rummaged at the outer rim of consciousness–Had I seen something? Had I heard something? The back of the Lord as he passed, as Moses saw? The hem of his garment? And I shared the vaguest hints of impressions. Sometimes, they were platitudes, oh yes. And sometimes, I clothed in words something nebulous, numinous, that I was just about seeing or hearing.
* * *
I did get something out of my LieBuster session. Yes, I believe I did.
But not as much as if I had, with simple honesty, said, “I don’t hear very much. I don’t see very much. I need more time” and had accepted prayer for my spiritual senses to be sharpened. Or simply waited until I did hear.
* * *
There is magic in honesty, in the spiritual life as in any relationship. There is magic in owning exactly who you are, without pretence, to God, and to another person.
We enter into the spiritual life through a very narrow gate, a low tunnel, and the name of that tunnel is honesty. Never pretending that we feel what we do not feel. That we believe what we do not believe. That we have experienced what we have not, in fact, experienced.
Once we pretend, we are lost in the shadowlands; we join the crowds pretending that the Emperor has clothes, when in fact, as far as we can see, he does not.
And the greatest loss is that we lose the possibility of experiencing the richness of the spiritual life. Lost in our lies, we lose the chance of seeing Jesus.
Honesty, humility, simple words, gateways to the pearl without price.
We need to go low; stop pretending; tell the truth; enter as a child.
And then maybe, like Irene, we will confess that we do not in fact hear God, and we will be prayed for, and then we will indeed “hear God loads.”