“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:11-13, KJV
Sometimes, we look for God is the mighty things, the extraordinary moments, the grandeur of life itself. And make no mistake, He is there! How could He not be? He took a formless void and created all things: the earth, the heavens, the sun, moon and stars, all plant and animal life, and finally, he created human life. Oh, the grand scheme of things has His fingerprint all over it.
But it isn’t always in these types of things that we will see His mighty hand at work. It isn’t even in these large things and momentous spans of time the He will use us. No, sometimes, it’s just a still small voice in which He speak to us.
Speaking or Listening?
Many times, we spend a lot of time in prayer…especially in what we consider to be the hard times. I could make a list, but I won’t. Our hard times all differ from one another, and what might be hard for me might not be hard for you. You may already have benched that particular amount of weight and found it to be tolerable.
Prayer is great! There’s no doubt about that. It’s our open line of communication to the Father and we have to set aside time, daily, to seek Him in prayer. But the problem is often, not that we don’t pray, but that we don’t listen after we do.
We pray, and then get up and walk away, expecting Him to drop the answer into our minds or our laps or wherever the answer may be needed. Sometimes, though, we should just be quiet before Him and wait for that voice. We should tarry, as the disciples did in Jerusalem, as instructed by Jesus, for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Listening and Doing
It’s one thing to hear from God, and it’s another thing to do what He’s telling you. Many times, I’ve heard the Holy Spirit prompt me in this direction or that, and I “excuse” myself before I even realize it sometimes. I might second guess myself, finally deciding that wasn’t God, that was just something that rose up on the inside of me. I might decide that it’s just not the right time, or the person I’m suppose to speak to isn’t in a position of really hearing.
It’s easy to excuse the Spirit of the Lord away. In fact, if you have any trouble putting it off, the devil is right there, whispering in your ear, a thousand reason NOT TO DO what the Lord has instructed you to do. He is the father of lies, and practices the craft often and well. This is where it pays to stay in the Word, and not allow his atrocities to seem fathomable. Resisting him, after all, results in his having to flee from us.
We might also think that there is a concrete “something” that has to be done when we hear from the Lord. An action to go along with the though or instruction. While this is definitely the case sometimes, it can also be that we are simply to REST. Yes, resting is an action, so important in fact, that God set aside an entire day to commit to rest. If it weren’t important, it wouldn’t be high up on our list of things to do, and we wouldn’t be commanded to honor the Sabbath to keep it Holy.
When It All Boils Down…
Learning to hear and heed the voice of the Lord isn’t something you can pick up over night. It takes practice; and it takes reading, and getting to know God and the things that are important to Him. It takes a certain devotion to all that He has commanded us to do, even if those things don’t seem popular, or cool. Even if they aren’t something that makes us feel good.
It takes reading the Word, spending time in prayer and maybe even adding in some fasting. We might need to do, or we might just need to simply be. Whatever the case may be, yours is a personal relationship with Him. The same is true for my relationship with Him. And I know that we can’t all have the same calling, because the Bible says that we all have different functions in the Body. What if the whole body were one eye? Then what would it hear with? And if the whole Body were just an ear, how would it see?
So then, what if the entire Body were called into missions, or music ministry, or healing, or encouragement, or homemaking, or pastoring? What if we were all called with the same calling? Then we would be a useless Body. The still small voice will help us realize our particular calling from God, as well as our space in which to use our calling.
What it all boils down to then? Getting to know HIM. Not bylaws or traditions of men or what happens to be popular in your own church or neighborhood. Then, learning to LISTEN to HIM. Waiting isn’t exciting. In fact, it can be the exact opposite. But if you’ve heard the still small voice, and you know waiting is what you have to do, do it with grace. Because you know there is an expected in on the other side of the wait.