One of the questions I have constantly wrestled with is; why does it seem like people in the bible stories we read and study hear from God so much more than we do? Is it a matter of worldview? Did they attribute everything in the natural world to the influence of God because science was not yet a thing, meaning their worldview had not been shifted? Did they look at everything as God speaking or God doing?
The heavens seemed to speak so fluently then. Storms and thunder expressed anger. A good harvest revealed God’s pleasure towards the people. Bushes caught fire and instead of running Moses stayed to see if Gods voice was in the bush (let me assure you if a bush catches fire ya girl is running). He spoke through dreams and visions that seemed to encompass the very glory of His presence in them.
So why do we struggle to hear God’s voice? I suspect that differing world views do play a part. The people in the bible believed God was the creator and did not question it otherwise, they did not have the knowledge or the science we have access to today. We have been introduced to science and new ideas, and have studied why things do what they do, when they do it, which has shifted our paradigm.
I wonder if what we view as God’s silence in our lives is actually our fault. You never read in the bible “…and Moses called Joshua to catch up and see if he too had heard the voice of the Lord through a bush.” You do not read about David looking on social media to see what Saul was saying about him this time. Perhaps these biblical characters we so admire didn’t have the same “luxury of distractions”. Their inability to escape into television or the Internet, their lack of choice for “entertainment”, the lack of a need for stimuli, the fact that their labor stopped at sundown, their slow pace of life, and the quiet of a star filled night might have helped draw their attention to the heavens. They had the quiet moments to draw near to draw near to the one who spoke the stars into existence, to the one who told the waves where to stop. The stars are much brighter when you’re not looking at them through lights, smog, and a smart phone.
Maybe our lives are so loud we are drowning out the voice of God. Have you ever laid down at night and become overwhelmed with the thoughts that so rapidly fill your mind because you haven’t taken the time to sit in the quiet and breathe? God’s voice is the voice you can only hear in the quietest hour of the night. During the day, as you move, talk, eat, socialize, and distract yourself with every form of entertainment possible (I mean admit it everyone at some point has been on their phone, with their laptop in their lap, watching TV, sitting next to someone doing the exact same thing, I am the QUEEN of it, but that is what this season of “listening to the quiet voice” is about for me) it is constant but imperceptible. But the minute you put your head on your pillow and let your breathing slow as you fall asleep, you hear it: the tiny, rhythmic pulsation of your heart beating blood into your body, a pounding whisper that keeps you alive even when you’re asleep. Can God’s voice be more obvious? “Your heart is beating, I am breathing life into your lungs as you sleep, you have a purpose.”
When God’s voice finds us like a heartbeat in the dark, we call it “the still, small voice.” God speaks in so many ways, and even occasionally shouts, but the testimony of countless believers throughout the ages has emphasized the still, small voice as one of the most important ways God speaks to us. Think about it, whispering is used when someone wants to tell a secret or remain quiet. When someone speaks in a whisper we have to lean in, and that’s exactly what our Heavenly Father wants. The goal of hearing our Heavenly Father’s voice isn’t just to hear his voice, it’s to draw near to Him, to be intimate with Him. That’s why He speaks in whispers. He longs for us to be as close to Him as possible.
As God has recently revealed to me why I can not hear His voice and I find myself frustrated, questioning my walk with Him I have to ask the question, why would God speak so softly in a world that so often needs an airhorn to the face? My only conclusion is that how God speaks indicates how important he considers our listening. If God shouted, listening would not be required, a relationship would not be needed. Instead, a whisper forces us to pay attention, to strain to hear his voice, to develop such a close relationship with him that we lean in (because I can assure you I will not let some stank breath stranger lean up in my ear and give me direction for life, if you are going to whisper something to me we need to be best friends, family, or married, if not get yoself up out my face. annnnd we are serious again…). A whispered message assumes that the listener is in close proximity to the speaker. The closeness required by a whisper requires that we are in close relationship with the Lord, aware of his presence and walking with him, poised to do what he says. God’s hushed tones also require us to be quiet and still enough to recognize him. I love the quote by T. S. Eliot that says: “Where shall the word be found, where will the word resound? Not here, there is not enough silence”. Maybe this is why people are scared of the silence, scared of the “be still and know…”. Maybe in these quiet moments we hear Jesus speaking into the depths of our hearts that no one else has spoken to, and maybe He is calling us higher, out of our comfort zones into living so set apart from the world that we begin to look like Jesus because we have learned His voice in the quiet.
It is so hard for me to be still and quiet, I mean I am 100 MPH 24/7. I am taking this season of life (I have no idea how long it will last) and quieting myself.
Here are a few things I am doing to find the quietness of Jesus’s voice:
1. Downloading an app that limits my social media time to one hour a day, once that hour is up I can not use those apps anymore.
2. Using one hour during the day, whether it be 30 minutes twice a day or one hour at a time to just sit and focus on Jesus. In this hour I journal, pray, read, and then just sit and listen.
3. Attending 21 days of prayer and fasting at our church every morning.
I am expecting big things from God this year because as I have been impatiently waiting on God to speak to me I feel like He has been patiently waiting on me to listen.
Question: What are some ways you quiet yourself, or can quiet yourself and learn to hear the voice of God?
I highly recommend the book Whispers by Mark Batterson. It is about learning to hear Gods voice and it is incredible!