Listening out for God's voice
1 Kings 19:11–13 "The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord , for the Lord is about to pass by.” 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. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?'”
It is an easy thing to pray and to tell God about our thoughts, hurts and needs. And like any loving and caring Father, God does wants to hear from us. Right now, after many months of various stages of lockdown, we may be asking God, "When is this pandemic going to end?" All around us, we see how people are getting impatient to get back to their usual routines, or to simply spend time with others. After all, we are social beings who need human interaction.
However, it occurred to me that maybe we are asking the wrong questions, or not taking the time to listen to God's answers.
In the passage above, Elijah went to "hang out" with God. With God being God, Elijah expected a dramatic form of communication – maybe words spelt out in the clouds or writing in the sand (like Jesus did in John 8). However, God did not respond the way he expected –God spoke to him in a whisper. When someone speaks in a whisper you really need to pay close attention in order to hear what they are saying. Are you taking the time to listen to God's answer to your questions? To be able to hear him speak, you need to spend time in His word and be quiet... Very quiet.
Last month, a writer friend shared with me a book on how to spend 10 minutes a day on meditation. I must admit that it is very hard for me to sit quietly for any period of time as my mind races at 120 km/hr. And, I've always associated meditation with chanting some kind of incantation. Yet, the Bible is full of psalmists and others who took time out to meditate on God's words.
My scripture for the year is Psalm 23:1. And, as I recently started a new chapter in my working life as a freelancer, I've decided to meditate on this scripture and others that apply to me — for example, not worrying or being anxious, and to be patient as I wait on the Lord.
My encouragement to you is to take time out this week to meditate on a scripture (s) and to listen to God. Do your best to hear his voice in the midst of all the chaos (violent winds, fire or earthquakes) around you.