Ann Farabee: When He spoke
Growing up in a home with an alcoholic father often left me feeling that I was a little different.
But…those years also left me seeking a lifetime of strength in the Lord, as I learned that God was my hope – and my place of refuge.
My father’s struggle with alcoholism controlled our home, just as addiction controls so many of our homes and families today. I was often fearful. It was hard.
In those early childhood years, I had no real knowledge of God, but I sure felt His Presence in my life. I somehow knew God loved me.
And… God spoke to my spirit in so many ways.
*God spoke to my heart. I was never alone. When anxious or uncertain, God would speak peace. A connection with my Heavenly Father became my lifeline, even though I didn’t understand it. Sort of like electricity – I can’t understand it. I can’t explain it. But…I sure can feel the results. I knew I was not powerless.
*God spoke through nature. On the days that sometimes seemed a little overwhelming, I remember running outside to sit on my favorite rock. If I wanted to be a little farther away, I would climb a tree in my neighbor’s yard, where the sky seemed a little closer. Worries could not cloud my mind and heaven seemed a little more touchable as I looked up. God was there.
*God spoke through His Word. I knew one Bible verse. John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. I began to hear and learn other verses. I grew to know that God’s Word was alive and speaking to me.
*God spoke through others. When I was 13, a friend of my older sister invited us to church. We then started getting dropped off at church by our father – and the rest – as they say – was history. Or perhaps I should refer to it as His Story? Jesus poured into my life as ‘others’ showed us His love.
How can God do that?
He can do it – because He is God.
Does God still speak to us? Absolutely.
He sure did speak to this girl. And… He still does.
It is loud. It is soft. It is personal. It is gentle. It is convicting. It is loving.
It is the voice of our Creator.
How in the world could someone not hear that voice?
Years later, as a 30 year old, I stood at the hospital bedside of my 60 year old father, who was losing his battle with alcoholism. I knew he was slipping away into eternity. He gripped my hand – surely, he had held my hand before – but if so, I had no memory of it. That grip on my hand somehow seemed powerful enough to make up for a lifetime, and strong enough to last throughout eternity. He looked straight into my eyes and for the first time, I realized that God had been speaking to his heart, too. I said, “Daddy, don’t you want to go to heaven with me?” When he spoke, it was an ever so clear, “Yes.” As we prayed together, my earthly father prepared himself to meet my Heavenly Father.
One day, my father and I will climb up on some branches of a beautiful tree in heaven together, or we will find a really amazing rock to sit on, while looking toward the sky and basking in the light of our glorious Savior’s love, grace, and mercy.