Four years ago today the woman who wrote the advice column entitled “Dear Abby” died. For more than 40 years, she responded to the curious, the discouraged, the desperate, and the quirky readers chosen for her columns. Her syndicated column reached a readership that topped 110 million people in some 1400 newspapers. At the height of her popularity, she received 10,000 letters a week. Her twin sister took over the “Ann Landers” column for the Chicago Sun Times in 1955. Abby’s real name was Pauline Friedman Phillips. Phillips helped her sister at first and then decided to write her own. Her first “Dear Abby” column appeared on January 9, 1956. An awkward rift developed between the sisters that kept them estranged for a number of years.
Perhaps they needed some advice.
We all do. We need someone to turn to. Anyone who claims to know all the answers is a person to avoid. Thankfully, we have Someone who doesn’t need to claim knowledge of all the answers; He really does know it all. He knows the what, when, how, and why. He asks us to follow His lead while trusting His love, wisdom, and grace. From the Proverbs: “Don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, revere the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality” (3:5-8).
In Peter Lord’s classic work, Hearing God, he quotes this writing of Louis Eberly:
“God hasn’t ceased being Revelation any more than He has ceased being Love. He enjoys expressing Himself. Since He’s Love, He must give Himself, share His secrets, communicate with us, and reveal Himself to any who wants to listen.”
And therein is the problem. Remember when your mother told you that you had two ears and only one mouth for a reason? Somehow we think we are supposed to talk and God is supposed to listen. What could we be missing because we refuse to listen to Him? I recommend two books worth a read, both entitled Hearing God. Both were written by two exceptional men: Peter Lord and Dallas Willard. They knew Who to turn to …