Once upon a time there was Ben and he didn’t always have the full attention he craved. Which was a shame, but perhaps not without precedent.
Unusually, I find myself having something in common with Ben. Because I know that feeling well. Feeling like I need affirming from a particular direction. I need to hear God’s voice. And each day, just like Ben, asking ‘what do you ask of me?’
Perhaps some days I assume there is no simple answer to that. I would dearly love a task so big that I can only fail in striving my hardest, knowing I gave it my all, rather than a simple task which I may be too lazy to complete well day after day.
And then an answer appears. It tells me everything I have ever done.
And it speaks a language I understand.
And I recognise that if I am truly listening words will come my way, and they will affirm in so, so many ways. Sometimes they will direct me to action. Sometimes to confession, prayer or contemplation. Sometimes, dangerously even, to the end of a chapter.
Am I brave enough to ask that question today? Lord, what do you ask of me?
Am I brave enough to hear the reply? What will I do with it?
This month I think I finally connected with Ben because I want to step in whatever direction I am asked to go. And what the world classes as foolish, God can use to shame the wise. What the world views as weak, God turns into strength. What a wonderful example to be able to say:
‘Look, I am needed in a new task. My obedience may be shocking, but its challenge will revitalise you.’
So I am extremely grateful that God talks to Ben. And I am extremely grateful that God talks to me too. And I would also like to apologise to Polly Dunbar for gratuitous use of her rather wonderful book Penguin. Because God talks to me in so many ways and often through stories intended for children.
If you ever get the chance to see Long Nose Puppets’ interpretation of “Penguin”, do so. It’s magical and lovely.