Slow down to hear God

God is whispering to us…incessantly.

Whenever the sounds of the world die out… we hear these whisperings.

He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.

Frederick W. Faber (1814 – 1863)

I began noticing the whisper a few years ago, but I only hear it on occasion and it took me quite some time to discover what prompted it and also impeded it. I hear it during the moments I pull myself out of sleep, to begin the day. The whisper I hear is never a single voice but a chorus, so there is not one particular voice that rises above the rest to be identified.

The whisper I experience comes in song form and all have a common theme: They are worshipful, for in praising God my own spirit is lifted. They remind me that God draws near me as I face another day. They tend to my soul, that tender inner self that is frequently powered down by worry, scheduling, conflicting values and demands. I accept these choruses, these whispers, as a heavenly gift — prompted not by any stimulus of this world but by a place beyond my sight, influences, or my experiences.

Some people climb Mount Everest. Run marathons. Study for advanced degrees. I have chosen, for the next nine months, to devote a part of each day to being quiet. I’ve stepped away from many of my normal routines so I will develop the eyes, the sensitivity so to speak, to hear God’s whisper. And while I will remain an active player with my family and friends, I have committed to being extremely selective about my time. I’ve determined that I will slow down long enough to hear the whisper during the daytime hours, when there are distractions if I allow them.

This desire to hear the whisper might more accuractely be described as a longing to interact with God. To love Him more. To discern His movements around me. To more quickly understand what it is He wills for my life.

Frederick Faber would have understood. He heard the whisper, but only when he stepped away from the noise and distractions of his life.The cynical part of me finds this hard to imagine. What kind of distractions did he and his contemporaries experience in the early 1800s? There were no cell phones, ringing and texting. There was no Internet. There were no MP3 players or hundreds of satellite TV channels, accessed with the click of a remote.

But there was humanity. There were the political growing pains of a young nation. Daily survival was much more an issue. There were none of the modern conveniences like those we enjoy today. Modern medical marvels were only dreamed about. Yet Faber’s words move out of an era we have difficulty relating to and apply to us today. Such is the wisdom of heaven. It is never antiquated. It’s truths act like a compass, pointing us to eternity, if only we will listen.

Some speculate that the recent hurricanes were intended to clean out those areas that displeased God. In answer to such speculation I turn way back into the Old Testament of the Bible to a story that involves the prophet Elijah and God. In this story Elijah travels some distance to Mount Horeb. He speculates that he will have a face-to-face enounter with God and he is initially certain of it when the mountain shakes from an earthquake, then blazes with fire. Such natural phenomena was always associated with God, yet he is surprised: As he looks, Elijah cannot find God in either occurance. Scripture tells us that it was only after both terrifying experiences had come and gone did Elijah hear God speak to him.

God asked Elijah a most profound question, not yelled but whispered: “What are you doing here?”

I like it that God does not have to yell at us. I like it that He constantly asks us to put aside the MP3 players and stop texting each other long enough to ask the most pround of human questions. What am I doing here?

When you yell and shake and spew fire you long for attention and shock value. There can be a place and a time for such shows. But when you are motivated by love and care, you whisper. A God of love whispers. This God of love whispers.

Will He whisper to you? Yes, but only in ways you will hear Him.

Must you initiate such soulful conversations? Not always, but it helps to quiet yourself. Pray. Make it a point to read scripture so you will begin to understand God and learn to identify how He is working in your world.

Will you experience His love? Indeed.

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