And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
—1 Kings 19:12
A close cousin to the Sabbath disciplines we’ve been exploring this month is the practice of silence and solitude.
In many cultures around the world today, especially in cities, silence can be hard to find. Our lives are inundated with noise. Music is always playing somewhere close by. Other electronic devices like TVs or computers are a daily part of our existence. There’s the sound of traffic, roadwork, lawnmowers, and more. Even when we escape the more obvious sources of noise, we often experience “white noise”—the hum of a refrigerator or the ticking of a clock. There’s a conspiracy of noise all around us!
If we never withdraw from the hustle and bustle, the constant flurry of activity swirling around us, we run a great risk. Constant noise can drown out the voice of God in our lives until it can barely be heard. Mother Teresa once said, “We need to find God … [but] he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.”
Elijah discovered that God rarely shouts. He wasn’t found in the violent wind, the earthquake, or the flash fire. Instead, God made himself present to Elijah through a gentle whisper. God’s signature is a still, small voice. In order to hear it, you have to be still.
O whispering God, I need to create opportunities to with-draw from the demands of my day to a quiet place where I can be fully attentive to you. Help me train my spirit to hear your Spirit. Amen.
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