Hearing Whispers

No. 23 - 15th January 2017

My sister was in her kitchen and about to make herself a cup of tea, so she called up to her husband to see if he wanted one. When she didn’t get a reply, she went out into the hall and asked again if he wanted some tea. Still no reply. So in exasperation she hauled herself upstairs and snapped at him, “For the third time, do you want a cup of tea?” My brother-in-law looked up and said, “For the third time, Yes!”

I’m a bit hard of hearing myself and have to wear hearing aids. So when my wife lost her voice this week, I had a real problem – or she did, depending on which way you look at it. Even sitting beside her, I would have to turn off the television and look at her lips to be sure of getting what she was saying. If she turned her head away while she was speaking, I was lost, and she would have to say it all over again. Perhaps I’m spiritually deaf as well, because unless I shut out all the noises of life and stop to really listen to what God is saying, I can’t hear a thing.

There was a man in the Bible called Elijah who was in real trouble. He’d offended the Queen and the army was out looking for him. So he escaped through the desert up into the mountains to ask God what on earth he was doing and why God wasn’t protecting him. Then he waited for an answer. The wind started to build up and worked itself into an absolute hurricane, and Elijah thought, “This is it. God is going to speak to me now”. But the wind died down and God hadn’t said a word. Then suddenly the mountain was shaken by an almighty earthquake, and when he got over the shock of it, Elijah thought, “Ah, the earth is going to open and swallow up all my enemies. That’s what God’s telling me.” But still there was nothing from God. I think like many of us Elijah really wanted God to shout very loudly so that he could hear what he was saying. Finally, when everything had died down and Elijah thought he would never hear from God at all, in the silence, he heard a still, small voice whispering in his ear. “Don’t worry Elijah. I know what’s going on and everything’s under control.” God never shouts at me. He speaks in a very quiet voice. And unless I stop and wait and listen carefully, I can’t hear a thing. But when I do hear him, there’s nothing like it in the world.

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