Fear of Listening

( [email protected] ) Mar 03, 2004 10:25 AM EST

FOR A LONG TIME humankind has feared the intentional act of listening for God. Many persons are anxious, possessed by a dread about encounter with the Holy One. Certainly a reverent fear of God is appropriate but not the kind of fear that makes you run away. What do you fear? Do you fear an encounter with the Other? Do you fear what you cannot control? Do you fear God's unseen but real world? ... Perhaps you are like a woman I met in Sunnyvale, California, who confessed she had been struggling with God for a year. She was a single parent, but most of her children had left home. Now she wondered about the purpose of her life. Acknowledging inspiration from a book I had written, she said, "I still have not gone inside myself. I have my hands out, holding God at arms' length."

"Why don't you go inside?" I asked.

"I'm afraid," she responded.

"Please don't be afraid," I encouraged. "God does not speak harsh, condemning words to searching hearts."