I find it difficult to listen to God. I can count on one hand the number of times when God spoke to me directly, and even then those times might have been late-night fatigue. I doubt strongly that I’m alone on this; many Christians claim to not have heard God directly even once. While I don’t claim to solve thousands of years of theology, I’ve recently started a practice that works for me. It’s simple and has doubtless been done before, but I wanted to gloss over the how and delve more into the why.
Simply, I put on a random number generator, one whose randomness cannot be predicted exclusively by the computer algorithm. I roll for a number between 1 and 150, and I read the respective psalm of the resultant number. That’s it. There are variations, like opening up the Bible to a random passage (and then, because you always open it roughly halfway, wondering how you always end up with the major prophets and the Psalms), but the primary factor is chance, as true and pure as chance can be.
Will this method always produce results? No, in fact, mostly not. However, it acts as a conduit through which God can shine as much as possible. Forcing a choice between disbelief in God or a million dollars restricts the uncontainable concept of God. Putting aside the consequences dealt to everyone who owns American currency, the end result is not the fear of God but the worship of the self. Why would God want to humor that notion?
Theologians debunk this scenario on a common basis, but I suggest that this is only the extreme end of a spectrum of spiritual searching that is centered around the self, from most to least selfish. Do you choose a pastor because he connects with you on a more personal level, or because he preaches the truth of God? Do you have a favorite selection of verses; if so, do you fish for wisdom more from those than from others? Heck, even in the aforementioned book-splitting method, you know where the New Testament is, where the Pentateuch is, and where the Psalms are. Do you crack the book one way or the other, hoping to sway your chances?
I’ve heard that getting rid of all other distractions and clearing your mind is the best way to listen to the Lord. While I need to strive to do this, I find a reasonable supplement in giving myself as little control of the decision-making process as possible. God won’t give me a million dollars, but He might delay my index finger just enough to influence the time variable on the random number generator. In the case of random.org, which uses atmospheric noise, He might cause a bird to chirp, or a man to cough, just at the precise moment. The result doesn’t provide me with any gain, save from the wisdom God teaches.
I don’t need a miracle passage every time I press the random number generator. The point is that I have an open comm line with God, unfiltered and unsullied by my own views. If God chooses not to respond, then I read a random psalm and lose nothing. If God does choose, I read the divine number that comes through and obtain enlightenment. Could it all be actually random, and I’m looking too much into this? Perhaps, but I can gain enlightenment nonetheless from the Scripture I read.
I don’t expect to convince most people that this is the best way to read the Bible, and, in truth, it might not be. I proclaim to you, though, the joy I experience when I read the perfect poetry for my situation in life, at the time I need it the most.