When God Speaks
A Testimony of encounters with the Word of God
“Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.”
Rain, in some passages in the Scriptures, has a two-fold image: abundance and fruitfulness. James 5:18 NAB-- Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit. Leviticus 26:4 NAB-- I will give you your rains in due season, so that the land will yield its crops, and the trees their fruit… Zechariah 10:1 NAB-- Ask the LORD for rain in the spring season, the LORD who brings storm clouds, and heavy rains, who gives to everyone grain in the fields.
This imagery of the rain has also been used to describe the dynamism of the Word of God as in Isaiah 55:10, generously given in abundance and always assuring fruitfulness. The earth that is blessed by the outpouring of the rain is and will never remain the same, the dry and arid land becomes fertile and capable of generating life. I will pour out water upon the thirsty ground, streams upon the dry land (Is 44:3). And as long as the earth welcomes the gift of the rain, it will always yield goodness and life. In the same way, human life, when opened to the Word of God, is presented countless possibilities of fullness and fruitfulness. And all that is asked from the human soil is its openness and acceptance of the Word generously poured out in abundance.
“And some seed fell on rich soil, opened, blessed, and graced by the Word of God and so produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:8)
Over the years, many of our people here in the community have been transformed by the Word of God—from living a life of path-like dryness, of rock-embedded hardness, and of thorn-infested existence to that of a rich and fertile soil. Their encounters with the Word of God prayed and preached—personal, sincere, and concrete—are the turning point of their lives wherein from that moment on, everything has a different taste and a much deeper sense. Situations remain the same, the people they live and work with are the same. The difference is the newness created by the Word of God in the mind and heart and soul of the person… a newness given abundantly and generously, at the same time promising bountiful harvest of the attitudes and values we could need.
“There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.” Thomas Merton, Christian Humanism in Love and Living.
The dry and parched land, when watered by the abundance of rain, becomes truer to its land-ness than it is when it is dry. Land, as it is, is always life-giving, life-generating. The rain then does not put something on the land, rather it completes it from within. The rain completes the land by allowing it to be capable of nurturing even the smallest seed of life sowed in it. Such fruitfulness in the human soil needs to be seen so that others may find their possibilities as well.
One of the richness of our Verbum Dei prayer is to touch God through our “testimony of life”. The objective of a ‘testimony of life’ is that the people who listen/read to it be deeply impressed by the experiences that we transmit, and that they be moved to want to experience something like that for themselves; to experience Christ personally, to change their lives, to start all over again, etc.
As Verbum Dei disciples, we share our testimony in order to give hope to all people who in one way or the other, big or small, are affected by this pandemic that we are currently facing. It is our way of proclaiming through our lives that God is near, He is willing to talk to us and listens to our cries, to comfort us, He is alive, and He loves us so much.