The God Who Whispers
Meet LeeRoy (pictured at left). Wayne met him last week on his trip to New England. Though he desperately wanting to be loved by the humans around him, LeeRoy is so owned by his fears that he can't open to the very people who would love and help him. Isn't that true of people who have been so abused by religion that they don't know how to be loved by the God who is right there with them. LeeRoy's plight sends Wayne and Brad down a discussion about living in reaction to our abuse and fears or learning to respond to the God who stands near us ready to invited us into his love. In spite of the lies in our head, Jesus invites us out of the places where we got stuck and into his love.
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What Dreams May Come is a 1998 American supernatural drama film, starring Robin Williams.
Have you seen this movie?
If you have not seen the movie this may not make any sense to you. If you have, then maybe you agree it has a strong, truthful message attached to it. No, it is not a “salvation” message, however, it does have a saving message.
Heaven and Hell, Love and Pain, is the main message in the film. The wife/mom has endured so much pain that she is “trapped” in her own personal hell! Only LOVE can save her. The problem is love would now have to leave heaven and go to “hell” to rescue her. When her husband decides to leave heaven to try and rescue her, he is warned that if he stays to long he could end up trapped just like her. He decides to go anyway.
Once he finds her he tries to talk her into leaving. Nothing seems to work! Finally, he walks outside and tells his partner that he has decided to stay. He would rather stay with her in her personal hell, then spend eternity in heaven. He returns back to her and sure enough he begins to fall into the same “trance” she seems to be trapped in.
Suddenly, this act of love reaches her. She begins to come around and starts to call out to him. Just when it appears it is to late, he is also saved by her love.
When the bible describes Hell, I believe it is everything it says it is. Why? Because anything absent of Gods love and healing is Hell! Sometimes we catch a glimpse of people already living in that hell.
Jesus left heaven and came to us. His love is the only thing that can deliver us from our pain/hell.
I know this to be true, because everyday, little by little, I am coming around to the fact He is here to save me. Not judge me, or blame me, but to save me!
Just as the women in the film had to trust love, so must we. Nobody can love or save us but Jesus.
Problem? When a father is sexually abusing you, and in the middle of your hell, he asked you the question that would forever change your life. “Do you love me?” What did love have to do with this pain? Many years later, more pain and sorrow later, Jesus is showing me, Love had nothing to do with it.
I relate to your story of the fearful dog. I long to be loved, but fear love! God is here and in time I will see His love is safe!
Sandy, your comment is beautiful. Thank you.
Thanks guys…another powerful, thought provoking conversation. God is also walking me through some fairly big pressures right now and I recognize that our sharing together can help to encourage each other (even if only a little bit). Sandy…thank you for your words…I also am learning to move away from the “Leroy” position (defensive, self protective, seeing warmth in the distance but holding back). Poor dog…he has no idea he’s the subject of so many conversations : ) Learning to “step outside of that and trust God to come near” as Wayne described is something God wins us to and in a way that is uniquely suited for each individual. It’s wonderful to be able to interact with a Person rather than trying to “principle” our way through this. Again there’s no easy step by step formula. When He works that intense hunger for His love in our hearts, He is the only One who can answer that.
Sandy, thanks for that insight. It was clear and thought provoking. I liked what you said about how hell and how Jesus saves us. It really is all about love and how he gently over time chips away at the our walls.
Sorry… typo. I did not mean to say how hell and Jesus saves us! I meant to say “I like what you said about hell and also about how Jesus saves us”
Golllleeeeeeeeee Brad. Please define golly as you use it because you use that word a lot.
You are re-igniting memories of Gomer Pyle you are. that’s all I got thanks guys
LeeRoy wants to be loved. But LeeRoy also wants to be free.
And what LeeRoy has learned is, every time someone reaches out a loving hand to him, it is to put a chain or a fence around him. So he keeps his distance. He will gladly be loved, fed and cared for.
But LeeRoy wants to be free.
Perhaps, in the city or county where LeeRoy lives, there are laws that say he cannot be free. “Leash laws”, they call them. Are they for his safety and protection? Or someone else’s comfort? LeeRoy doesn’t know…
But LeeRoy isn’t buying it.
So he keeps his 20 paces – and runs when anyone gets close.
Of course, LeeRoy is still trapped. He is bound inside an invisible fence of his own making. But at least he draws his own boundaries. He is the gatekeeper. That gives him some sense of comfort.
He is in control.
But he isn’t free.
His prison of fear is indeed locked from the inside. And he alone holds the key.
I am LeRoy!
So when Paul said he did what he didn’t want to and didn’t do what he wanted to do in Romans 7 Brad’s answer to him would be “no, you are doing exactly what you want to do”. Interesting. I’m guessing he doesn’t buy the whole ‘it’s no longer I who sins but sin which dwells in me” thing either. Kind of steals the thunder of hope in the rest of the chapter on into chapter 8.
Also, I wonder, when Brad accidentally touches something hot like a lit burner, how much volition or choice does it take for him to pull his hand away? Does he just react to the pain or does he have to sit and make a conscious decision to move his hand away. Maybe he is wired differently than me but for me it’s a reaction, not a conscious decision. I think most people are the same way. I once was electrocuted and was it not for a miracle I most likely would have died. It took years for me to be comfortable enough around electrical wires to work with them without some real fear, no matter how man times i checked the switches and breakers to make sure they were off. Often I would get someone else to do it. I’m not sure reacting to and being afraid of pain is all that related to forgiveness, self protection sure, but that’s a whole other issue..
Ken, I thought of that too, but I’ve owned many dogs, some of which had to be tied up by law (pitbulls) and I’m confident that Leroy is reacting to something much worse than just being tied up.
I too am LeeRoy. And what I am learning is that one primary reason I am hesitant to let God love me is that He wants to love “me”, not the fig leaves I have wrapped around myself. And just like Adam and Eve, in order to exchange my fig leaves for his animal skins (which required death/blood), I will have to be exposed in all my shame. But that is where He wants to meet me and love me. And of course, when He does, there is true release and freedom to be who I really am…His beloved son, made in His image.
Wow. What a conversation. I have to admit that I echo a lot of what Chris said- about Romans, and about Brad. I am often blessed by Brad’s input, but today not so much. The statement that we are “on the hook” for it all really scares me. Revealing obviously, that I still don’t understand Love. I know I’m responsible for my actions, but am waiting for something to happen that will transform my thinking and ability to recieve love, and have eyes to see, as well as a heart after God Himself.
Being out of the Sunday routine for nearly 6 years now, I am dismayed to find as the smoke clears, that I have many of the same issues I had going in more than 20 years ago. Not that I haven’t seen real transformation in some things, but in my opinion, not nearly enough. After the imposed boundaries and accountability the church offered were no longer there, who I am and my true character began to emerge. I don’t like what I see in myself. I am grieved that I haven’t picked up my bible in years. I haven’t had the desire to sit alone with God or listen to worship music. I seem to lack integrity and true character. I don’t know what to do! I am surrounded by 20 somethings, my daughter’s friends and my own. I see their emptiness, their self-medicating, and I have nothing to offer. I feel like such a hypocrit talking about God’s love because I am so desperately in need of it myself. I know He is the Answer- The Way, the Truth and the Life. When will it make sense and become clear to the degree that the old ways lose their luster and temporary power?
I am as honest with God as I know how to be, and honestly, have been most of my life. There is no point in pretending or thinking He doesn’t see and know it all. Never did I think that He would have led me out to find myself here, now. If I sound dismayed, it is because I am! As I see things heating up on a global scale, I just want to run to the hills and wait till it’s all over. I clearly am not making the right choices Brad, and have no sense of control. Where do I go from here?
I’m not that big of a horse person, but yesteray when I was at my Aunt’s farm, I decided to stand out in her field and wait for her horse Rita to walk over to me. And guess what? She GALLOPED to me. I asked myself, ‘Wow. When was the last time I galloped to GOD?” At church we talk about how glorious HE is, and we get all excited, but then we don’t do anything with our excitement. And as I was thinking this, Rita stopped and stood next to me. I reached out my hand and felt her, and something clicked. I realized how beautiful this simple horse really was, and it was a reminder of how GOD finds us beautiful in our each individual ways.
Then came the moment I will never forget. Rita lifted up her hoof and placed it on my foot (unintentionally). She was literally standing on me! I’d never had this happen before, and if you’ve never had a horse stand on you, let me inform you that horses are actually very strong. And I asked myself, “GOD, what are you trying to tell me, now?” At that moment I discovered another analogy that GOD wanted me to see. So many times, we walk over to GOD, but then we just sit on HIM. We don’t allow HIM to take the reigns. Something I’ve discovered is that I need to get off of GOD, and allow him to take control of my life, instead of trying to smother my intentions on HIM. HE doesn’t want my intentions warped around HIS; HE wants to warp HIS around mine and eventually make HIS intentions my own.
Forgiveness is one thing, but trusting is another. So, my boyfriend, husband or whomever beats me, and forgiveness makes it all better? No, I can forgive, but I should not open the door and let that person continue to hurt.
Second, yes God is there, BUT He has called US to be His hands and feet, so we are called to be there for the hurting, with that patience that you describe. Sometimes, life hurts, I get that, but overcoming that pain isn’t so easy, especially for those who have endured years, and years of pain from multiple sources. It is then when trusting becomes an issue.
It is also hard to trust God, when you know he was there, yet didn’t stop it. It takes time to learn that, although God IS there, He cannot step in and control someone else’s choice, BUT He sees the pain and feels it with you. There is great comfort in knowing this, and I believe, this is where trust in God can begin.
As for LeeRoy, he is a hurting dog who has endured only God knows what. Yes, those of us like him may want love, but not at the cost of continued pain. It is a process to understand that not everyone will hurt you. But on the positive side, they have learned that pain isn’t love, which for many is a very big first step.
As for me, I have reached out. I have been open. Yet, I still am close to no one. I have even gone to the point of saying I need someone, and I get the famous lines, “Well, God is there. Jesus is there.” But even Jesus needed a fellow human to help Him to carry His cross.
As far as homosexuality, I have too many questions concerning that. There is evidence that shows that hormones during the womb affect how we come out. There are people who are born both sexes, what happens to them? And if that happens, why can’t minor hormone changes cause some people to be born gay? And if this is true, then how can someone “change” what they’re born with? It’s like saying people who are born deaf, blind or what have you are cursed because they were born that way. For the record, I am not gay. It just breaks my heart to see people being torn away from God because of things we don’t quite understand. God loves gays as much as the rest of us. And if we as Jesus’ people followed His mission as described in John 3:17 “For God did not send His son to judge the world, but to SAVE it,” how more receiving would this world be to His message.
Lastly, it is amazing when we take the time to see the point of the other side. It’s very powerful. Even if you don’t agree, you can still see their point. Once you do, understanding can happen. However, sadly, people just get stuck on being right, and being right seems more important than peace. Even doing this with those who have hurt you, understanding why they acted (or reacted) the way they did can help you find peace. This doesn’t absolve them, but sometimes knowing they hurt too can help you see that it wasn’t necessarily personal and that reacting in pain does nothing positive in the world.
This reminds me of a book I read in the past called “Lessons from a Sheepdog”. =)
Wayne, your name was mentioned to me after I read The Shack some time ago now… as I looked you up tonight and found myself listening to the story and discussion on LeerRoy, I shake my head at another deeply whispered, ‘thankyou Jesus…’ moment.
Thanks for being real.
And thanks LeeRoy.
I loved the message of LeeRoy. I can’t wait until your joy is complete and the dog finally comes inside!
I have an opinion about it however (a man with an opinion! how rare!).
I feel like, comparing LeeRoy to the lost son in the parable, is a great comparison, and everything works. God just wanted to bring the son back inside, from the world that evil made him go out into.
What I feel the parable doesn’t say is *why* the son left, and I’ve been thinking it’s because *someone* told him, “Hey, if your dad really loves you so much, why does he hold onto all that money and not let you experience the world?” And the sons leaves… and the rest is history.
But what the parable never deals with is the older son. Still in the house, but not complete in his joy with his Father.
And this is what I think is being said to him, “If your Father loves you so much, why is keeping you locked inside these walls?” and where this deceiver differs from the younger son (who became a sinner) he turns the older one into a law-keeper, by this, “why don’t you lock yourself up in a closet, and never come out. Maybe if you never leave, your Father will have compassion for you and give you his inheritance because you obeyed him, and never left your prison. Maybe if you do all the things, and lock yourself up when he’s not home, so that you never sin against him, surely he’ll reward you for never doing wrong?”
I feel like I should clarify and clean up my thinking, but I think the message is there… and you guys have much more life experience to flesh it out to help our brothers and sisters trapped in the closet, with satan’s angels jiggling the unlocked knob but saying that it’s locked. 😀
Keep up the great work! I love the podcast! You now have one insane listener! 😀