This Saturday marks the end of another Spring Turkey season and as of this writing, I’m still hunting for bird #1. I’ve squandered some opportunities, enjoyed many sunrises and birdsongs, and even written some poems, but I have yet to connect with old Tom.
As I sat at my tree hoping for a longbeard, I remembered a comment someone made awhile back. He said, “There must not be many turkeys around since I never see any.” I tried to gently explain that there are plenty in our area, but that you have to put yourself in a position to see them. They’re not likely to fly into our bedrooms, although they do occasionally.
In order to hear a turkey gobble or see one strut, you have to do some scouting in their preferred habitat. Experienced hunters know to look for signs like feathers, scratchings, or scat. Actual sightings are best as well as hearing them yelp even if you don’t see them.
Wherever you locate abundant sign are good places to set up with a shotgun or camera. It’s still no guarantee that you’ll connect, but your odds improve dramatically compared to watching television in your living room and wondering why you never see wild turkeys.
This reminds me of what some say about God. Comments like, “God never speaks to me,” may reflect a similar problem. Most times, in order to hear from God, we must put ourselves in favorable places to do so.
One of the best opportunities to hear God speak is found in His Word. Although He can and does speak in other ways, God’s primary method of communicating with humans is through the Bible. The 66 books are one extended love letter from our Heavenly Father in which He speaks loud and clear.
In the Old Testament, Moses heard God in a burning bush and others encountered Him through angels or personal appearances. One reason God did that was because they did not yet have written Scripture. We are far more fortunate than they in that we can pick up our Bibles and hear from God anytime anywhere.
Another great place to hear and see God is in worship with other believers. As we glorify God together, He has a way of speaking to our souls through songs, prayers, and sermons. Although He can and does speak as we worship in solitude, there are special blessings of gathering with other believers.
Of course Sunday school classes, Bible studies, and small groups are also fantastic locations to hear from God. As others share insights, God’s Holy Spirit speaks through them to us. But if I never attend any of these, never read my Bible, and don’t go to church, my odds of encountering God are much slimmer.
Another excellent avenue to connect with God is prayer. We can pray in even more places than we can read our Bibles. We can pray in bed, when we’re afraid or hurting, when we’re excited and happy, or when we’re driving or riding. Throughout history one of the primary places that humans encountered God was through prayer. If we wish to hear from Him, we must do the same.
Now we may not always like what God has to say when we do hear Him, but that’s a different issue. Sometimes that’s the very reason we avoid places and activities where He’s likely to speak to us. God has a way not only of assuring us of His love and forgiveness, but also of convicting us of those things that hurt others and wound Him. The Biblical word for this is sin and none of us like to hear about ours, but in order to enjoy God’s good news we must confess our bad news.
As another spring gobbler season winds to a close, I’m still chasing those elusive birds. But even if I don’t connect, it’s great to know I can connect with God anytime anywhere. May we each do the same. Blessings, George