[were You ever silent?]

months went by, no signal
no proof of God’s intention
but maybe it was all my doing
it’s a blame i cannot place
all my efforts seemed without answer
every prayer without response
there were times when i knocked desperately
and times i’d given up
heaven seemed so absent
so distant – obsolete
i fancied myself persistent
a victim of divine neglect
i became a functional maverick
said – “to hell with all the rules”
following them didn’t get me heard
they were useless, then – to me
i wanted skin and alcohol
and things to call my own
my wretched heart had found its home
and passion found release
but like a child, i turned my head,
said, “God, do You hear me now?”
and i was met so tenderly
with grace instead of wrath
“God, were You ever silent?
i’ve been trying hard to hear You
have You made my ears become deaf
or am i too scared to listen?”
but rarely does He answer
the questions we think need posed
“I desire mercy, son,
I desire justice
you’re thinking that I want too much –
things you cannot do
the things I want are simple
moreso than you let yourself believe
don’t let your neighbor starve
while you feast every night
don’t clothe yourself in linens
while your neighbor is wearing rags
I don’t hate sex – I made it!
but I hate when men consume
I hate to see a woman raped
alone to mourn and grieve
I hate when fathers run
I hate seeing mothers bear burdens alone
it’s harder than you know
or when consequences are shunned – but not pleasure –
children are gifts, not punishment
I don’t want you to grow rich
if your neighbor fades away
I don’t want you to covet
what your neighbor went and earned
I love you and I take care of you
don’t fear for your next meal
this is all I ask of you –
son, this is what I want
love your neighbor as yourself
that completes My laws
don’t love without commitment
don’t make a vow you’ll break
let love and truth soak all you do
let grace inform your action
show Justice, Peace, and My ‘Shalom,’
that’s all I ask you for
I know you’ll fail along the way
but son, My grace is more.”

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