Be Still and Listen
- Written by Lon Lorton Lon Lorton
“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:21
Have you noticed there is nothing more reassuring to a small child than the voice of their Mama or Daddy? It’s amazing to watch how they respond to a comforting word spoken softly, yet with confident assurance and love. That same thing is true in our relationship with God. As His children, we should desire to hear His voice. I love the way The Message puts Proverbs 3:5-6. It says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track.”
Did you hear that? For the times I’m prone to complain that God is not speaking, the problem more likely is that I’m not listening. Do you listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go? It’s easy for some of us to compartmentalize ourselves, temporarily focusing in on whatever seems to be directly in front of us. That tends to lead us in the direction of separating our spiritual lives from our everyday routines. If this is an issue for you, I’d like to challenge you (and me) to make an intentional effort to listen for God’s voice in everything we do - not just what we think are the big decisions and not just on Sunday morning in church. Let’s practice listening for God’s voice in everything.
Consider 1 Kings 19, when God spoke to a discouraged prophet named Elijah. Self-isolated in a cave and feeling lonely and sorry for himself, Elijah heard God’s voice, but not like we’d typically think. God told him to step outside the cave and go stand on the mountain. The story goes like this, beginning in verse 11: “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
To hear a gentle whisper, you have to be quiet. You have to want to listen in order to hear. And you have to be expecting it – anticipating a gentle whisper. The winds came, the earthquake shook, and the fire roared. I would guess Elijah had no problem noticing all that. Sometimes, though, you just have to quit talking - shut up - and listen. Because God sometimes wants our full attention and will only speak in a gentle whisper.
In the days ahead (as in days past), there will be much noise in our lives. Let’s all learn from Elijah. Pause and be still. Wait for God to speak. The Bible gives us all the encouragement we will ever need: “Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go…’” How awesome will that be?! But it may only happen if we are listening.
Bless you all,