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The Voice of God
By Pat Sheets

My grandson is just sixteen months old, but he is already displaying some behaviors that indicate he may have a hearing problem. Iím not talking about the kind of affliction that makes it difficult to hear sound, but the phenomenon that causes children to block certain words. For instance, he fully understands the meaning of the word "cookie", but has no comprehension of the word "no". Funny thing; his mom had problems with those same words.

This morning as I made my way to my "prayer chair", I was reminded of my grandsonís hearing problem. I nearly broke my neck dodging the minefield of toys he left scattered after his last visit. Somewhat frustrated as I sat down to begin my prayer time, I muttered, "Lord, whatís wrong with kids today? They just donít seem to listen."

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I heard the voice of God! He said in a loud, clear voice, "Open your eyes!"

I was flabbergasted! Finally, after years of praying and searching, I was able to hear God speak to me. I followed His directions and opened my eyes, hoping to see an angel or some other heavenly body. Instead I saw the same war zone of toys. What was God trying to tell me? I closed my eyes again and began to pray.

"God, I canít believe you are actually speaking to me! I must be on the level of Noah, or Abraham, or even Elijah! Now that Iím some kind of prophet, I have lots of questions for you."

"Count to three," came the voice again.

"Oh, I get it! Count to three. That must be a reference to the Trinity. One, two, three; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But God, You already know I believe. Letís get on to some really tough questions. Hereís one: How can I lose weight and still eat cheesecake?"

God answered. "Touch your toes."

"But, God, I was hoping for something easier than exercise. Isnít there some kind of ancient herb I can use?"

Again the voice said, "Touch your toes."

I was a little frustrated with Godís insistence on the cheesecake issue, but I knew He was right, so I plunged on. What should I ask God next? My mind raced with possibilities. I could ask Him how He parted the Red Sea. I could ask Him why I didnít get the horse I asked for when I was seven. I could ask Him ... for the winning lottery numbers!

My humble prayer began, "Lord, you know Iím not a gambler. I promise to use my lottery winnings for good things, like feeding the poor and buying clothes for the homeless. Oh, yea, and Iíll need a car so I can do all that shopping. And I promise to tithe on my winnings. So, Lord, please give me the numbers."

This time I heard loud and clear. "What is two plus two?"

"Four! The first number is four!" I shouted while jumping up and down with my eyes closed.

My husbandís voice broke my jubilance. "What on earth are you doing?"

"Donít bother me right now, Iím having a conversation with God," I quipped.

"It looks like you are having some kind of fit," he said.

"Shhhh! Godís going to give me the next number. Be quiet!" I stood there in my nightgown, face lifted towards heaven, anticipating the next number. Would it be three as in the Trinity? Maybe it would be seven or some other Godly number. Finally, the voice spoke again.

"Can you use the potty all by yourself?"

"What? Potty?" I was confused.

My husband walked over to the toy box and picked up Thomas the Talking Turtle. "Itís Thomas. He wants to know if you can potty all by yourself!"

I couldnít believe what had just happened. For thirty minutes I had been having a prayer session with a green reptile that wore a monocle and spoke in the dialect of Gumby! Even worse, I believed everything he said!

Humiliated beyond description, I decided an insanity plea might be my only hope.

"I hear turtles talk, and I think theyíre God! Commit me to a hospital for observation!" I begged my husband. He chuckled and assured me I was gullible, but not insane.

I came away from this embarrassing experience with the realization that I, too, suffer from a hearing impairment. I listen for answers to questions that can only be answered when I reach heaven. I misconstrue Godís words and take them out of context to serve my own purpose. Worst of all, I sometimes follow a voice other than that of my Father simply because I like what it has to say.

My grandson and I both have a lot to learn about listening. Iím just hoping that I can be as patient with my grandchild as God is with His children. After all, thatís what parenting is all about.
Pat Sheets is a freelance writer with an offbeat sense of humor. She lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with the three men in her life: Jack, her husband, is a pastor. Duncan and Barkley are pound-saved mutts but none-the-less, her "boys".
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Photography by Stephanie Summerfield.