When my five children were young the only time our house was quiet was the middle of the night, and sometimes not even then. My children are part of the “plugged in generation.” They can listen to I-pods, have the television blaring and text message on their cell phones while doing homework (or they say they can). I can’t do that. When I really want to concentrate on something I have to have total quiet. These days that’s easier to come by than it once was.
I worry about a generation who thinks they have to have noise 24/7. I wonder if they can find inner peace without turning everything off and listening to the quiet. I know that just because I think better when there is silence, doesn’t mean that everyone does but I wonder if those who are constantly surrounded by noise know what they are missing.
Remember Elijah? Tired and so discouraged that he was ready to die he said, “I have had enough, Lord.” But God wasn’t done with him yet. Elijah climbed a mountain and came to a cave, where he spent the night and then something weird happened. God told him to go outside the cave and stand there.
And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”(l Kings 19:11-13)
Try to imagine the noise from the rocks falling and the wind, the sound of the earthquake and then the roaring of the fire. Then suddenly total silence and out of the silence comes the “sound of a gentle whisper.”
God knew where Elijah was and he already knew why Elijah was in the cave, but God had a plan for Elijah, a mission, and He wasn’t finished with him yet. God reminded Elijah of his power and strength through a wind, an earthquake and a fire, but when he wanted Elijah to listen he whispered. Sometimes I fear that I have missed the whispers of God.
If I want to hear them then I have to listen and I have to pray. I think that’s what Paul was speaking of in Philippians when he said, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6-7)
When our daughter, Rachel, was seven months old she got very, very sick. We rushed her to the hospital and they did a spinal tap. The diagnosis was spinal meningitis. For three days we didn’t know if our little girl would live and if she did live we knew there could be complications. Rachel is 25 years old now but I still remember the cold, hard tiles beneath my knees as I knelt in her hospital room and prayed. I remember holding onto the metal bars of her crib and whispering prayer after prayer after prayer.
Years later I was putting her to bed one night and we were saying her prayers and she asked me a question I’ve never fogotten. “Mommy,” she said, “Does God hear us when we whisper?”
I thought back to the agonizing days and nights when she was in the hospital. My answer was easy. “Sometimes, ” I said, “He hears us best when we whisper.”
Does God whisper to you? Sure he does, maybe not like he did to Elijah on the mountain, but he speaks through his word. We just have to be still and listen.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the Nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalms 46:10