“The reason widows like hanging out with you is because you talk so darn loud that they hear you!” That relative knows me too well or hears me too well. It is frustrating when you don’t listen to what a person is saying because they are too boisterous. It is equally frustrating when you cannot hear what someone is saying. My wife and I were watching a new series on the Paramount channel which was supposed to be a critically acclaimed western drama. We could not hear what the main character (played by Kevin Costner) was saying. He kept mumbling. We leaned in toward the television. When we finally did hear what was being said, we agreed that show was too dark for us.
In a world of noise and constant change, it’s hard to decipher which way is up. We watch the local news channel with our coffee in hand, as we start our day and then avoid a particular interstate thanks to that newscaster. What if a man stood outside our house each morning shouting from a megaphone, offering some life-direction?
Better still, who would not want to hear God’s voice before facing the unknown? Eugene Peterson said “God does speak to us, but not in a booming voice that sounds like actor James Earl Jones”. (The Message // Remix: Solo)
What if you are too drained to pursue God’s direction? Enter a dude named Elijah. His mission should he choose to accept it, was to attack fake prophets who worshiped a fake god of fertility and rain. He succeeded but an evil woman named Jezebel threatened to kill him. Elijah then ran off to the woods. There he basically told God “I AM OVER THIS!” He then asked God to end his life. Listen to what happened next:
“And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper”. (I Kings 19: 11b-12 NLT)
God met Elijah where he was, and encouraged him by offering guidance in a quiet voice. How can we hear God’s voice when we need direction? Let me offer five ways:
I start by praying for many days (if not months) asking to hear God’s voice in response to my dilemma. Secondly, I write down the Pros and Cons on a sheet of paper. Thirdly, I get advice from someone older than me. Fourthly, I ask myself if I have a peace about moving in a certain direction. Finally, I push the doors to see what God opens or closes. Have you taken the time to hear God’s still small voice before making a big decision?
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”.