Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Elijah learned that God speaks in hushed tones (1 Kings 19). That’s not to say, however, that God never shouts.
While he was persecuting the young church of Jesus Christ, Saul (also known as Paul—Acts 13:9) had an encounter with Jesus, who spoke dramatically and forcefully to him. Saul was on his way to Damascus intending to storm synagogues and arrest Christian believers. Before reaching the city, however, Saul was stopped by a light from heaven that flashed around him, blinding him, dropping him to his knees.
Then he heard a voice that could also be heard by those traveling with him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Through this encounter, Saul came to know the living Lord Jesus, and he was eventually baptized and commissioned as an apostle to the Gentiles.
When God needs to shout, he does. But typically that’s when we haven’t been listening to him in the quiet. Saul had been living his life with his ears plugged to God’s promptings through the Spirit and, as a result, God needed to take action to get his attention.
God’s desire, however, is to speak to us as friends (John 15:15). In the intimacy of solitude he speaks quietly and makes himself known to us.
Father, thank you for the invitation to withdraw from the noise and busyness of the world and to enter into friend-ship with you. Tune my spirit to your Spirit so that I can hear you speak. Amen.
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