“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.”Psalm 46:10a
This world is so LOUD! We are constantly pummeled by noise. From the humming of an A/C unit to the overwhelming chatter of the clients who fill the lobby during your workplace’s busiest hours noise surrounds us. Blaring your music because your favorite song comes on doesn’t help the amount of noise in the day. Of course, neither does allowing YouTube to cycle through preferred videos to create white noise as you work on a project.
All in all, noise is everywhere. While we like certain noises and welcome them into our lives, there is still a time where silence is needed. There isn’t a way to get away from it (unless you purposefully make yourself deaf, which I wouldn’t recommend). However, simply allowing only natural or white noise to surround you can help you focus more on what you want your attention to be on. The biggest struggle, though, is quieting the space in your mind (that includes your mental voice).
Why should we do this? Well, one reason is to give certain body parts a rest (i.e., ears, brain, etc.). Another reason–one I would like to dive into today–is to hear God’s voice better. God doesn’t typically speak in the audible sense as we would hear our best friends speaking when we meet for coffee. No, God moves in our hearts and gives us a sense of what we should do or say. He even gives us a fire in our soul to give us that determination to get something done or provides a severe gut wrenching feeling in our stomachs when He’s telling us a firm ‘no’ or ‘stop’.
While in college (before I was saved), I decided it was okay for women to ask guys out. Mind you, I’m very old school (<in my best old lady voice> I have an old soul, you see), so this decision had come after much convincing. Fast forward a few years to about six months after I accepted my salvation, I stood in the lobby of our church and asked a guy out for some coffee. Going into the conversation, it seemed like a good idea. Half way through the question, though, this gut dropping feeling overcame me and I wanted to suck all the words back in. Come to find out, he was engaged to a girl a handful of states away.
God was telling me ‘don’t do it!’, but I followed through with the question anyways. As a result, I faced rejection. I’ve since then learned that women do not seek; they only wait and focus on what God has given them to work on. It is the men who are tasked with finding and making the first move (Proverbs 18:22). Even though I could have avoided that result and saved myself from some pain, I wouldn’t change anything even if I could. Having felt that gut wrenching feeling reminds me the Lord is with me, watching over me and trying to steer me away from destruction.
One of the major difficulties, though, is reminding ourselves to be quiet enough internally to hear what He is trying to tell us. It could be a lesson in what we’re dealing with. It could be an encouragement in order to give us that extra boast to get something done. It could be a reminder of a task you needed to get done but had forgotten. It could be a warning something isn’t right and we need to prepare ourselves for what may come. We must place our trust in the Unseen.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”1 John 4:12
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord whose confidence is in him.”Jeremiah 17:7
I think those who are new to the faith have the most trouble with this. The lost don’t place their full trust in the Lord and thus have no interest in hearing what He has to say. The spiritually well-aged believer can hear Him, though it is a hard thing to describe in order to be understood. Understanding what it means to hear God’s voice is something learned with experience. The new believers may somewhat understand what the well-aged are trying to explain, but until they experience it the lightbulb might not go off. (I’ve been there; I’ve had my doubts early on at one point or another.) Yet, the new believer wants to hear His voice, especially when the first season of trouble arises, the boat begins to rock, and they aren’t sure what to do or what is really happening.
The winds of our lives can bring blessings or storms. Either way, they are what fills our sails to keep the boat moving. During seasons of trouble and what feels like spiritual drought, the waves are rocking the boat and we wonder if God is even listening or if He even cares. Sometimes we easily and absentmindedly allow the wind to overwhelm us with so much noise we can’t hear or see anything but the situation we are facing. As the storm rages around us, our own mental voice rages inside, encouraged onward by our emotions. However, it is when we calm our emotions and silent our inner voice that we can hear the voice of God shining with hope. He will calm the storms and deliver us to peaceful waters.
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”Mark 4:39