There’s a still, small voice trying to speak to you. It’s a gentle whisper you won’t hear if you don’t listen.
Today more than ever, people are searching for answers in all the wrong places. Or, perhaps more truthfully, people are trying to hear the still small voice in the cacophony of noise and clanging chatter that demands our attention to the point of distraction.
It’s like trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack or trying to listen to a friend while watching a football game on TV in a crowded room with music blaring in the background.
If you want peace, if you need direction, if you are seeking answers, you’ll find them in the still small voice. But it means turning off the noise channels and tuning out the distractions — one by one — until the still small voice is the only thing left. Then, and only then, it becomes brilliantly clear and even familiar.
Earlier this year, Elizabeth and I simply cut off those sordid news channels. CNN and Fox generally don’t play in our home anymore. I don’t listen to them on my satellite radio in my truck any more either. We’ve replaced them with reading and Christian music. Or just quiet.
Recently, I shut down Facebook, another loud, all-consuming noise channel. We’ve tried to limit other “voices” and input “channels” that include unnecessary drama. It has been a continual process, but we’ve found ourselves reflective and asking ourselves growth questions we haven’t even considered before.
Elijah had a similar experience that sets a great example. He ran from the world. In fear, but he ran away, ultimately to a cave, just to get away from it all. An angel showed up on his doorstep with directions for him and he landed on a mountain top.
As God had his attention, here’s what happened next.
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19: 11-12.
All of those mighty winds, earthquakes and fires that are tormenting or shaking up your life are just that: Distractions that keep your attention and seek to keep you focused away from the real power and truth for you.
Your answer isn’t in the magnificent lightning or rolling thunder. It’s in the little, quiet whisper when the tantalizing excitement is over. It’s what’s left when everything else is shaken to the ground.
But here’s the kicker: Most people today don’t want to hear or won’t take the time to listen for the still small voice.
It’s why Moses understood God and the people of Israel saw only the beautiful view and signs. It’s why Peter, James and John understood the depths of the things of God and other followers saw only the signs and miracles.
“He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.” Psalm 103:7.
Everyone can see God in the beauty of the mountains, the splendor of the oceans and the majesty of the heavens. Everyone loves to see the signs and wonders, but few will endure to listen to the depths of truth and wisdom.
Only those who are diligent and press in will hear the still small voice. Only those who refuse to be satisfied with the signs and wonders can experience the deep experiences that Moses, Peter, James and John understood.
Gene Edwards, in his book A Tale of Three Kings, puts it like this:
“God has a university. It’s a small school. Few enroll; even fewer graduate. Very, very few indeed. God has this school because he does not have broken men and women. Instead, he has several other types of people. He has people who claim to have God’s authority . . . and don’t—people who claim to be broken . . . and aren’t. And people who do have God’s authority, but who are mad and unbroken. And he has, regretfully, a great mixture of everything in between.”
To be sure, God is speaking every day. But you won’t hear his voice in the clamor and roar of television, political events, world crises and general confusion around you. You may see His hand. But you won’t hear his voice there.
Cut out the noise, find a good cave, then get quiet, wait and listen. Here are a few suggestions for you.
- Get alone. Elijah went away, perhaps for the wrong reason, but he got away from the everyday struggles of life.
- Prepare. The angel provided food that lasted 40 days and 40 nights.
- Wait. And wait longer if necessary. Elijah didn’t get in a hurry, either in the wilderness or waiting in the cave. In each instance, he slept easily, and was patient.
- Obedience. In the wilderness, the angel awakened him twice and commanded him to eat. He did. In the cave, he was told to go “stand on the mount before the Lord”, and he did. Then, the Lord provided him specific instructions and he followed them.
In today’s chaotic, I-have-to-be-somewhere-in-five-minutes world is the distraction that keeps us from hearing. But it’s where the peace is. It’s where your direction is. It’s where you will find your power.
There’s a still small voice speaking to you. Find your cave, eliminate the clutter. And listen.