“… Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” ~ 1 Kings 19:11-12
I live in a the outskirts of the large city of Charlotte. Though, anyone born or raised here would say it’s a small city. But either way, if any of you can relate, when you live in or around a big city, there’s a large possibility that you will have to have a longer commute. I don’t like living in the middle of the city, but in a small town. Because of this, the shortest drive to work I’ve had was 30 minutes. But I have driven as long as an hour and 15 minutes (… didn’t last very long). Because I had so much time in the car, I got into podcasts (I burnt through all my playlists very quickly). After the first couple of trips, there was always something playing in my car. I’d get in my car, and plug up my phone. Then I’d go into work, and put headphones in. I’d work out, and I’d have headphones in. I’d come home, and turn the TV on. I go to bed and turn the fan on. There are very few points in my day when there isn’t some type of noise happening around me. Sometimes, I’ll even tune into more than one at the same time. This is for many reasons; I dont being left alone to my thoughts, I don’t like feeling alone, and if i’m being honest, being in silence makes me uncomfortable. I mean- have you ever tried to sit in complete silence and not do, think, or say anything? It’s weird and uncomfortable! With media at our fingertips, there is very little time left in the day where we are left unplugged. Parents find this even harder. How many parents get a second to themselves? Not many, if any.
Recently, I was talking with a young man who said “Life would be a lot easier if God just spoke to me like he spoke to people in the old testament”. I was confused for a second and asked him to divulge what he meant. He went on to say, “You always read in the Bible how God was speaking to people and they heard him loud and clear. Why doesn’t he speak to us like that anymore?” This leads to a more important question: In your mind, what does it look like when God is speaking? When you read an old testament passage, how are you image it? The most common answer I’ve heard is: A bright light, some clouds, and a giant, bellowing voice that shakes the whole earth. Sure most of us think of God being a magnificent power, so why shouldn’t his voice shake the earth? Well it could, but it doesn’t.
Maybe we believe that God isn’t speaking to us because we’re not listening. Humor me for a second: Go back to your depiction of God in the old testament. If you’re expecting God to break out at Coachella with a trembling voice and talk to you, that’s just not going to happen. It didn’t happen then, so why would now be any different? Most of us are busy waiting for God to make his grand entrance, when he’s still waiting for us to show up. Imagine your day and all the distractions going on around you. Then, someone drops a pin on your carpet. Are you going to hear when the pin hits the ground? Probably not. And unless you step on it, you’d never know its there. What if God speaking to us works the same way?
God speaks in the silence, not in the noise. The famous 1 Kings passage I started with talks about this very phenomenon. Elijah was hiding in the hills, running for his life. People were persecuting him, and wanted to kill him. God told Elijah he was going to speak to him. He wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. God was in the still, small voice. Elijah was sitting in the silence preparing for God to speak to him. Can you imagine how powerful this would be if we applied this to our lives? I’m not saying it’s easy or that it won’t be uncomfortable at first. But If we put the effort into being silent like we do binging our favorite shows, I can guarantee it would be life changing. God is whispering to you, are you quiet enough to hear Him?
So what does this mean for Millennials? This week I’m going to end with another challenge. Take some time to live in silence. It’s waking up 5 minutes before the kids do so you can have some quiet time with God or spending your lunch break apart from everyone else. Find what works for you and schedule it. Put it on your calendar. Set a reminder. Be disciplined. Be uncomfortable. Just listen to the silence and wait for God. God is speaking to us now, just as he was before. Now we have so many distractions that it’s easier to lose sight of what we need to be spiritually healthy. So take out your headphones, and unplug your phone; clear your mind and prepare for God to speak. He’s been waiting for you to listen.