(From our church-wide devotion book at Pinedale Christian Church, "You 2.0â€)
You ever notice than when you finally call it a night and you just want to climb into bed and close your eyes, just when you get quiet, you begin hearing things that you didnâ€™t hear before? Like my ice maker decides it needs to drop ice at 2:00 in the morning, and my first thoughts are, why is it dropping ice?I donâ€™t even remember using the ice maker at all today, so why the need to drop ice! Can you program those things to drop ice at a more normal hour?
Or those little popping and cracking noises that you hear now but didnâ€™t notice earlier â€“ where did those things come from? You suddenly notice them because you have slowed down and gotten quiet. You were too busy during the day to notice, but the noises were still there.
I believe that is why we often miss Godâ€™s small voice trying to get our attention. That is certainly my story. I find myself praying for answers to questions and problems, but evidently not making an effort to hear a reply. I have friends that tell me stories about God speaking to them. I wonder: are they closer to God than I am - maybe. Do their requests trump mine? Not in Godâ€™s eyes, but maybe mine.
So, what do they do that Iâ€™m not doing? The answer is, LISTEN. They have learned to slow down and wait on God, to expect a reply. They have learned to interpret what He is telling them. I, on the other hand, struggle to do that. Oh, I do the asking for sure, but then I get busy doing other things and never hear His precious reply to me. I miss that small voice trying to contact me. I end up taking the matter in my own hands and hope for the best. If you can relate, then we both need to learn to get still.
Isaiah 30:21 says: â€œGod says whether you turn to the right or to the left,your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, â€˜This is the way, walk in itâ€™.â€ That is His voice. Simple instructions, but evidently hard to carry out.
Our lives are so busy these days, and yes, a lot of that busyness we make ourselves. We canâ€™t, or donâ€™t want to slow down, because we are afraid. Maybe itâ€™s that we just donâ€™t know how. For instance, some of us feel like we need to finish every task placed in front of us. We canâ€™t get still until weâ€™re sure everything is finished, even though our task list never seems to reach the bottom.
Some of us donâ€™t get still because weâ€™re afraid we wonâ€™t get ahead if we do. We need to prove how much we can do. Or worse, some of us are simply afraid of that small voice. Weâ€™re afraid that we are not worthy of hearing it.
Now that is just crazy thinking. There are all kinds of excuses. But at the end of the day, Iâ€™m tired of being tired and being everything to everybody. I need to and want to learn how to slow down and listen to Godâ€™s small voice.
So how do I slow down? I need quiet time with God - just time that I can devote to Him. Read a daily devotion and verses of scripture and think about how they apply to life. Prayer time that is more than just a thank you for the day. It is a deep conversation with God. He wants that conversation with us, and we need that conversation with Him.
I need to learn to hear that voice so I wonâ€™t have those missed opportunities He is trying to give to me. Iâ€™m sure my life has been full of missed opportunities, maybe opportunities that could have changed my life or someone elseâ€™s. Maybe yours has too. That is a sobering thought.
So as we head into this new year, remember that God wants to desperately be a part of our lives. He was to help us with our problems, experience our successes, and wrap His loving arms around us. And we need to feel them so desperately! Letâ€™s learn to slow down and hear His voice.
Oh, the blessing that can be ours, but also the blessing that we may be to someone else.
Author Mike Yaconelli says:
I travel a lot, and I came to San Francisco one night and missed my connection back home. I was angry and upset, and I called my son on the phone. I wanted him to encourage me. I said, â€œMan, Iâ€™m stuck in the airport; itâ€™s been a horrible day. Iâ€™ve been traveling too much.â€
My son said, â€œYou know, Dad, if you didnâ€™t travel so much, you wouldnâ€™t have things like this happen.â€ Well, I didnâ€™t appreciate that. I was ticked off. I said, let me talk to your son [my two-year- old grandson]. Well, I forgot that when youâ€™re two, you canâ€™t talk, and when youâ€™re 60, you canâ€™t hear. This is not a good combination. Heâ€™s mumbling on the phone. Iâ€™m hoping that this is going to make me feel better. Itâ€™s making me feel worse. Finally, Iâ€™ve had it. I hear the phone drop onto the floor. Now, I hear the kids playing. Iâ€™m stuck in the airport. I have this miserable experience. Iâ€™m furious and angry when all of a sudden, I hear crystal clear over the phone, â€œI love you, Grandpa.â€
You know what? All my anxiety, everything went out the window.