SORRY, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!
Not long ago, I read a story about a young man and an elderly preacher. The young man lost his job and didn’t know which way to turn. So, he went to see this revered man of God. Pacing back and forth in the minister’s study, the young man grumbled and complained about his problem. Finally, he clenched his fist and raising his voice he cried out, “I’ve begged God to say something to help me, preacher, why doesn’t God answer?”
The old preacher, who on the other side of the room, spoke something in reply, something so hushed it was not intelligible. The young man stepped closer to the minister. “What did you say?” he asked. The preacher repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper. So, the young man moved even closer until he was leaning on the preacher’s chair. “Sorry,” he said. “I still didn’t hear you.”
With their heads now closer together, the old servant of God spoke once more. “God sometimes whispers,” he said, “so we have to move closer to hear Him.” This time the young man heard, and he understood.
We all want God’s voice to thunder through the air with the answer to our problem. But God’s is the still, small voice… the gentle whisper. Perhaps there’s a reason. Nothing draws human focus quite like a whisper.
God’s whisper means I must stop my ranting and raving and move closer to Him. And then, as I listen, I will hear my answer. Better still, I find myself closer to God. For when God whispers, it is for our ears only. So, we must stop and listen intently. To tune out all other noises and distractions. God whispers to us the same way we whisper to a friend, to a spouse, or to a child. Emphasizing the message that speaks more than the loudest shout. Whispering is another way of showing love.
There is a story in God’s Word that illustrates this so wonderfully. The prophet Elijah was being threatened by Queen Jezebel, so he ran and hid in a cave. As he mumbled and complained about all the good things he did for the LORD. Finally, he cried out, “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.
Then he was awakened by an angel and told, “Go, stand in attention before God at the entrance of the cave, and God will pass by.” Suddenly a hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper (1 Kings 19:1-11).
The prophet Zephaniah told everyone: Be silent before the Lord GOD, for the day of the LORD is near. And Jesus had this advice for His disciples: When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:6). And our Lord followed His own advice when he dismissed the crowds that came to hear Him and went upon on the mountain by Himself where He prayed alone (Luke 6:12).
So, the next time you can’t seem to get the Lord’s attention or hear anything He has to say, stop and draw closer to Him. This is what the Apostle James advised: Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). And the writer of Hebrews encouraged us: Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). It isn’t that God is not communicating with us, it’s that we need to move closer to Him to hear what He has to say. – Dr. Robert R Seyda