Could someone please turn down the volume?
Noise pollution is wreaking havoc on my spiritual well-being. The whoosh of traffic streaming by my home and office windows. A TV or radio spewing news of racial intolerance, political upheaval and unrest around the world. A voice-activated countertop device that pumps music into the room on demand and a handheld tool that connects to voices, videos, music and mayhem with just the touch of a finger. Noise! It surrounds us on every side and it is making it ever so difficult to listen for the one who longs to have our ear. Maybe it’s time to put it all to hibernate.
Lately, I’ve been on a quest to connect to the voice that spoke the world into existence, the same voice that radiated from a burning bush and set a man on a mission, the same voice that spoke to his beloved in the Garden of Eden as they strolled together amid the fragrant flowers and the same voice that called a small child named Samuel from his slumber three times before the boy finally heard and listened.
In at least these three examples, described in the Bible at length, God spoke audibly to His children. But does He have to speak out loud for us to hear His voice today? I think not. His Word throughout Scripture speaks for itself and He finds numerous ways today to connect with His children. The real issue is not whether He speaks, but whether we have the ability to hear Him when He does.
To help me with this mission, I’ve been perusing a couple of books: Mark Batterson’s “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God” and Priscilla Shirer’s “Discerning the Voice of God.” The underlying theme in both is that in order to hear God speaking, we must first turn down the volume and listen. It’s no wonder I’m not able to hear Him above the noisy distractions of daily life. The clattering, clamoring, chittering, chattering, thumping and grumbling drown out the opportunities to truly connect. It’s in the sound of silence when I think He speaks loudest.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)
One of my favorite Scripture verses—Psalms 46:10—reminds me that I only need to be quiet to hear God speak. “Be still, and know that I am God.” It’s time to turn down the volume. It’s time to get un-busy.
I would imagine when He speaks, He speaks softly, gently, ever so lovely. A whisper even. So quietly you must lean in to it to hear it. An utterance so sweet that it lifts, enlightens, coddles and nourishes your inner most being. Who wouldn’t want to stop everything for a moment like that? Who wouldn’t want to just be silent long enough to hear something so majestic and so sweeping that it moves you to tears and swells your heart so much you feel as if it could surely burst?
In the stillness, you wait. You invite Him in. He loves so perfectly He would never force His way in. He waits to be invited in to your quiet space. Isn’t it just like that when you love someone so fiercely? You don’t want to force your love on the other person. You want them to give their love freely. You want them to choose you. To love you without conditions. Without stipulations. Without false pretenses.
And so you invite Him in to your quiet place because you long to hear Him speak. You’re eager to embrace His words of wisdom, love and mercy, and you desire to hang on every word He breathes. And isn’t it just like that when you love someone so fiercely? You invite that special someone in to sit with you, to talk with you, to share your day, your dreams and your hopes for the future. You want your special someone to feel safe, welcome and significant. You want them to set aside time for you. To wonder, ponder, reveal and imagine with you.
And so there you rest in perfect peace in your tranquil state, undistracted by noise, hungering for God to make Himself known to you. You have a need to know you’re walking the path He’s designed for you. You have a need to serve Him, to be His hands and feet in this broken world. You need to know how to do just that. You have a desire to be directed by the all-knowing, ever-present and all-powerful Creator of the Universe. And isn’t it just like that when you love someone so fiercely? You find contentment just being by their side, hearing them breathe, holding their hand and doing life together. Through the valleys and the mountaintops, the raging waters and the fierce storms, you find strength to persevere through it all, especially when you’re doing life together with someone special.
And in the stillness, He speaks. Whispers. To my heart. Ever so easy, unfettered and beautiful. A still, small voice. Riding on the waves of a love so pure and intimate it changes who you are. And for that moment, the world is a much more quiet place, suspended in absolute peace with the One who spoke my life into existence and gave me a purpose, a plan and a hope for eternal life.
Who wouldn’t want a moment like that?