Does anybody remember the days of chatting with your neighbor over the backyard fence? How ’bout kids communicating with two cups and a string? With all our modern communication devices I sometimes miss the days of simple conversation over a cup of coffee.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of most of our advances in technology but what can be unfortunate is that these methods tend to eliminate the need to actually listen to the person communicating with us. When our conversations are via e-mail, texts and Facebook the person’s voice is eliminated, too often leaving much room for misinterpretation. Without the inflection in their voice we don’t hear what they’re really trying to say. Do you ever miss the warmth of a friend’s voice when all you do is exchange e-mails and texts?
I was thinking today about how I communicate with God. I read His Word and try to apply it to my life. I read books and blogs and listen to music and sermons that communicate His love for me and desires for my life.
And I pray.
Oh, wait…I mean I talk to God. Yeah, that’s what it is most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all greediness. I thank Him and praise Him as well as asking for help and blessings.
But it’s not really communicating unless I listen.
Listening to God is foreign to many people and difficult for most of us. We have examples in the Bible of God speaking to His people in burning bushes (Exodus 3) and visions (Genesis 46:2-3). He even spoke through a donkey (Numbers 22:21-38)! But today I was thinking of how He spoke to the prophet Elijah one day when he was feeling like God had perhaps forgotten him.
It takes place in Elijah 19. Elijah has just won a big victory for the Lord by destroying prophets who were against Him. But one woman made Elijah run. She was an evil woman, and very powerful. She threatened to kill Elijah and he was so afraid that he ran away. He came to a cave and hid there, still fearing for his life. God sent an angel to feed Elijah and asked him why he was there. Elijah sort of whined about what he had been through and this was God’s reply:
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?”
(1 Kings 19: 11-13)
Elijah had to really listen to know that the Lord was there, then he went out to visit with God.
I believe God still longs to speak to us just like He did with Elijah and others in the Bible. But the conversation won’t be complete and meaningful if we are impatient and not still before Him, listening until we hear. It will take some practice, but give it a try. Perhaps 5 minutes at first. Just shut out the rest of the world, work on turning off your mind and listening. No agenda, just you and God. You may never hear His audible voice but you will know when He is communicating with you. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
How have you heard God’s voice in your life? Please share with us in a comment below.
blessings and peace to you as you listen for God’s voice in your life!