Communicating is a vital skill. Without good communication important relationships deteriorate. Businesses go down the tubes. Modern science tells us that the stress caused by poor communication or miscommunication can even cause our health to suffer.
Communication experts often teach the concept of "over-communicating." If we want our message to penetrate people's consciousness, the experts say, then we must find multiple ways to get the message across. For instance, we may have to take a single message and 1) email it, 2) put it in a newsletter, and 3) tell people verbally, just to get the communication through to everyone who needs to hear it.
Communication is important to God too. And he communicates to us in various ways. First, God communicates his power and love to the entire world through the beauty of creation. Psalm 19 says,"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4, NIV).
But God understands the importance of not leaving people guessing, or lacking in clarity. So he also gave us the Bible. In the Bible we have God telling us all the important things we need to know about him. That's why the Bible is also called God's "revelation." It's his revealing of himself to us.
In the Bible God reveals how important it is to him that we live according to his ways, and how serious he is about that. And also in the Bible, God reveals the depth of his love for us. It's a love so deep that he was willing to give up his most treasured possession so he could claim our hearts. Jesus once said, "You diligently study the Scriptures, because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me" (John 5:39, NIV).
God also communicates to us through the sacraments. In Baptism and the Lord's Supper (which Jesus connected with his words and promises in the Bible) he cleanses us of our sins. In earthly elements - water, bread, wine - he transmits to us the power to live a changed life. And most of all, in these sacraments he literally adopts us to be his children. One simple definition of communication is "to transmit." Some pretty sweet things are actually transmitted to us in the sacraments!
But that's not the end of it! God's absolute most amazing communication mode was that he sent his own Son to be a "communication" to us. In Jesus we come to understand the full importance and power of God's truth and holiness. In Jesus we also grasp the shocking degree of God's love for sinners, and his desire to seek and save those who are hurting, lonely, and lost.
Jesus is such a powerful communication from God that he is even called "The Word" in John chapter one. Do you really want to know the truth about God? Do you want to tangibly, firmly take hold of God's grace? Jesus is God's best communication of all that! As John writes,"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14, NIV).
So it seems that God is "over-communicating" with us! I guess he really wants his message to get through! And we are so glad he does! His communication heals families and helps our daily business move forward according to his will. His is the only communication that can truly relieve stress - the stress created by temptation, guilt, and fear. And God's communication to all of us is the one communication that has eternal significance. As Jesus' disciple Peter once said,"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68, NIV).
So what's Jesus' challenge to you? To all of us? It's stated several times in the gospels (maybe that's Jesus over-communicating again). Here it is: "Then Jesus said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear'" (Mark 4:9, NIV).
Here's a prayer. Jesus, open my ears wide. I want to get the message you have for me.