The past two weeks I have had to whisper. The tiniest, in your ear whisper that no-one but that ear can hear. Usually I have a loud voice, I was a school teacher in a past life and I could call a child back over 200m away. I have a loud singing voice and I was almost afraid of it’s power as a child. I refused to practice my big notes because if I got them wrong the whole house would know. Now I only sing like that when the house is empty.
I’ve got good lungs I guess and my kids have inherited them. So we have a loud home. Apart from my husband. When he raises his voice we all have to stop ourselves from laughing, out of respect because we know he really is angry, even though it sounds so funny!
My children know my voice. I don’t always use it’s full power. I do know how to modulate for effect. However, I know I often speak loud enough for everyone to hear so that I don’t have to repeat myself. But after this week I’m reviewing my volume.
The first weekend of illness I was in bed, then it was back to taking kids to school, driving to activities, cooking, cleaning, tidying, playing lego and grocery shopping, all with nothing but the tiniest whisper, a chest that felt like it may just explode at any moment and a boisterous almost 3 year old.
But it worked. I hardly spoke at all, every body watched me closely for cues, listened intently for instructions and reduced their own volume accordingly. My husband walked in from work and said, “Wow, I’ve dreamed about this.”
The whole time I was thinking about God when he whispers to us. When I’d been sick in bed over that first weekend, in and out of sleep, I’d had a moment of fear because I was so ill. You know the fear of death. I wasn’t actually afraid of death for myself, I was afraid of the logistical nightmare my family would be plunged into if I died. So I’d prayed my Psalm. Psalm 23.
Psalm 23:4 says,
Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.
When I got to verse 4, I saw in my mind myself dancing on the highest peaks and I felt God say, ‘This will not end in death, you will celebrate on the high peaks again.’ It was fleeting, the slightest whisper and if I hadn’t been straining to hear it I would have missed it entirely.
That whisper was what kept me going for the next two weeks. It made me smile when I was hauling my overflowing trolley through ALDI with my son delightfully holding my hand, protecting his mum. It made me think so hard about what encouragement and belief I could whisper into the ears of my children who were straining to hear me. When someone is leaning in to hear. That is a teachable moment.
1 Kings 19:11-13 says,
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
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. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God can make the wind and the earth obey his voice, he speaks and sets the ground on fire but it is when he speaks to us privately, words we know are just for us, when he asks leading questions, “What are you doing here Elijah?” that is when he sets our hearts on fire.
My whispers cost me, they were thought out, planned. I would ask myself, ‘Is this the best thing I can say in the moment?’ God’s whispers are more than that. they are perfectly placed. He prepares the space into which he will speak. He makes sure there is expectant silence, peace, no chance of interruption. He makes sure we are straining hear, we are switched on not just with our ears but with out minds, our spirits, our souls. We have chosen to listen.
Elijah had travelled 40 days and 40 nights to be in that space. He had gone deliberately to the Mountain of the Lord. He was seeking God. He was ready. God pressed his obedience, and guided Elijah into position. Then God prepared his heart for what was to come, brought his senses alive so to speak. “Go out and stand in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then God gave him sensory overload! If my kids always had me whispering, always had silence, my words might not have meant a thing to them. But my 2 weeks of whispering followed, dare I say it? Three years of sensory overload. We have had not just loud voices but screaming, squealing and nerve destroying noise from our two youngest children in the last 3 years. Crashing mountains, Earthquakes and Fire? Ha. We’ve had Grace and Isaac! Maybe not that bad but, you get the picture, sensory overload.
Then a whisper.
A whisper straight into your soul, “What are you doing here Elijah?”
God engaged Elijah in conversation. How wonderful that the God who broke down the mountains, caused earthquakes and set the very ground on fire listened in the quiet to Elijah and gave him an answer. God loves to relate to us as individuals. When Elijah was in that place of focused listening God gave him specific solutions and advice. God gave him a way out.
God helped me when I was afraid. He knew the desires of my heart. He gave me a way out. How beautiful is the heart of the Lord.
God wants our attention before he whispers to us. God wants us to seek him, obey him, desire his presence and be present to hear his voice with all of our souls. He wants us to come out of sensory overload into the place where his perfectly chosen words can change us.
He wants to whisper to us. Will you strain to listen? Will you hear with your spirit and understand with your soul? Will you let his love lead you and fill you and give you a way to go?
Be blessed, be encouraged to listen today,
Lots of love,
© Lauren Macdonald. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauren Macdonald @ http://godhelpmei.com