When we say God speaks to us through a particular song, movie, or painting, we don’t mean to infer He is the one actually creating the music, acting the role, or generating the image. We recognize these are the works of poets, performers, and artists, who may or may not be inspired by God as they work. What we do mean is, at these moments, we are experiencing the beautiful voice of our Lord calling specifically to us in ways that reverberate deep within our souls.
I experience this firsthand when I watch the magnificent film, Chariots of Fire (1981). Every time I hear those elegant words of Olympic runner, Eric Liddell (sublimely portrayed by Scottish actor Ian Charleson), “Jenny, I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run, I feel his pleasure,” I know that Jesus is communicating directly with me. Allow me to explain. I’m not professing to be anything like Eric Liddell, though to the actor’s credit, I do identify with him in that moment. I’m also not claiming that, like him, I actually feel God’s pleasure when I run. To the contrary, I feel pain when I run, relentlessly and unmistakably in my knees. So instead, what I’m trying to convey (as best as can be done with subjects that transcend words) is something like this: When I am touched by that defining scene, Jesus is expressing to me, “I want you to know how much it pleases me when you undertake any activity in my name and feel my pleasure.” In essence, He transfers the words I hear in the film from my ears to my heart and then whispers them to my soul. It’s His way of telling me He loves me. Touchy-feely? Well, maybe. But that’s the way it is. That’s our Lord. And that’s just one of the many ways He enjoys speaking with us.
So it is, then, that as Christians, these weighty passions we experience so powerfully from songs, movies, or paintings is ultimately not emanating from those things themselves, but rather from Christ, our Lord, who is telling us how much He loves us. So let us not listen anymore to trifling talk about how when we recount being touched by such moments, we are merely espousing sentimental blather, a form of emotional overload from our own over-energized minds. There are times we do this. But we know the difference. And heed not those who try to claim the only way to hear God is by reading the Bible. We know better than that, too. The Bible is His plenary and Holy Word, but it’s not the only way He speaks. God’s voice is limitless.
Listen to how it is so beautifully described in Psalm 29:3-9: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The voice of the Lord speaks to us how and when He pleases. Amen and amen.
I hope this encourages you today.
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