Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm Still Listening

I am a huge Pandora fan.  In fact, I love Pandora so much, that if presented with the actual box that was given to Pandora, I would be tempted to open the darn thing even though I'm fully aware that it contains all of the evils of the world.  That temptation would be driven by the one and only thing that I don't like about Pandora - the "I'm Still Listening" button.  My hope would be that somewhere, inside that mysterious box, would be a secret code I could enter into Pandora that would keep me from ever having to press that button again.

When I'm in my office reading, doing sermon prep, or otherwise engaged in computery things I am listening.  Period.  You don't have to ask me Pandora.  If you are open in my Firefox tab, I'm listening to you.  If I'm not, as is the case when I have a visitor or a phone call, I will pause you.  The reason is simple - I have so finely honed my Pandora auto mix after years of "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" I almost never hear a song I don't like.  Because I like all of the songs that pop up, I don't want to miss any of them, so I don't ignore you or mute you or otherwise neglect you Pandora, oh no, you are far to important for that.

Now, as dramatic as all that sounds, all I have to do when presented with the "I'm Still Listening" button it click the mouse.  One little click and Pandora knows full well it has my attention.  Then, fully assured of its importance in my life, here and now, Pandora goes back to providing me with great music.

You ever think God gives us an "I'm Still Listening" button?  There are times when life is so unbelievably good, when things are going so well, and every day seems better than the last.  Then, there are times when days run into weeks and I feel totally lost in the woods.  There are days when sermons seem to flow from the very river of God's throne, and there are times when the well of inspiration seems as dry as a desert.  I take great solace in the Bible when I read that so many of the great heroes of our faith also have ups and downs.

Is it possible that those days that seem the most dark, the most empty, the most desolate are God's little "I'm Still Listening" button?  Meant not to punish, but to purify?  Is it possible that we are so blessed, particularly those of us blessed to live in the developed world, that God is forced to stop the music once-in-a-while just to let us know that it is important that we continue to pay attention?

One of our denominations has a statement of vision that says, "God is Still Speaking."  I have always been so very jealous of that vision statement.  I've always wanted to borrow it and scribble it everywhere so that we don't forget that the God who once inspired our Scripture is actually still moving and active today, lest we think He has said all He needed to say almost 2000 years ago.

I've learned that in those times when God seems distant, that nothing I can do will force Him back into the room.  There is no button to push, no fee to pay to make sure I don't face that interruption again.  The best thing I can do is try to figure out if I'm doing everything I should be doing to hear from God, and keep on keeping on.

If, indeed, God is still speaking, "Are You Still Listening?"

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