Sometimes words fail us. This can feel uncomfortable: I think, especially in Western culture, we like to have an answer for everything. We aren’t always comfortable with silence, we aren’t always comfortable when we don’t know what to say.
At my most recent session of Spiritual Accompaniment, we reflected on how God can speak to us through pictures.
God primarily speaks to us through His Word: the Bible. It is important, when listening for God through other mediums, that what we hear should be in agreement with God’s Word in Scripture. God is consistent, so will not give us a personal revelation which in some way contradicts the revelation of the Bible.
What we sometimes find, depending on how our mind works, other mediums can speak to us, and affirm what God says to us in the Bible.
When I met for Spiritual Accompaniment, we reflected on this painting:
This is quite a famous painting of the story of the Prodigal Son, by Rembrandt. As I looked at this painting, I was led through the following meditation:
Quiet: Take a moment to quieten and still yourself before God. You may wish to focus on your breathing: take deep, steady breaths. Thoughts may pop into you mind: acknowledge these, and lay them to one side. This is time for you and God.
Take time to acknowledge that God is present. Ground yourself in the knowledge that God is here, and ask that He may speak to you during this time.
Consider: Now look at the picture. Take in all that you see. Is it a familiar image? If so, what is it about? Is it a new image? If so, what do you see? What sort of things jump out to you?
What is God saying to you through this picture? Ask Him to show you what He has to say to you. Take in the picture as a whole before moving on to any details.
Notice: Let your eye wander to some of the details in the picture now. What is your eye drawn to? Is it a person? Is it a detail? What have you noticed? Focus in on these details.
Is your eye drawn to a person? Which person? Do you identify with any of them, perhaps by how they are positioned, or what they look like? Why do you think you identify with them in particular?
Is your eye drawn to a detail? If so, why did this detail stand out to you? What do you notice about this detail?
Ask God to speak to you through whatever you have seen.
Pray: Through what you’ve seen, first give thanks to God for what you have seen. Now, ask God to speak to you through what you’ve seen. Is there something in your life with which this is connecting? Is there a message you can take away and reflect on further? Talk to God about this, and ask for his guidance to know what to do with this.
It may be that nothing stood out to you. If this is the case, talk to God about that: what does it feel like to have found nothing? Ask that God may speak to you another way.
I found this a helpful exercise, as I tend to think rather visually. Perhaps you might find it helpful, if you think in pictures.
I was also given another picture to take way with me. I’ll share this with you too, in the hope you might find it beneficial too!