August 10, 2008

Listening for the Tiny Whispering Voice

The first psalm passage today (Ps 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14) begins with the words: "I will hear what God proclaims".

How do we hear God? How do we hear anyone? By listening. To hear God, we must be listening - not talking, not working, not playing, not even praying. Listening.

In the Old Testament reading (1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a), Elijah does not hear God in the loud wind or earthquake or fire. He hears God in the quiet whispering afterward. If he was not still and patient, if he did not wait and listen carefully, he would have missed that whisper completely.

The point, of course, is not that God cannot be in the earthquake or the fire, cannot communicate through them. He spoke to Moses through a burning bush, after all, and guided the Israelites by day with a pillar of fire. The point is that we must be ready to find God in the still, small voice rather than the rushing wind. We must be still and quiet ourselves, at times, or else we are having a one-sided conversation.

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