Listening for God’s Still, Small Voice

October 1st, 2009

Okay, there are a few of us who've been around long enough to remember a television commercial that showed a beautiful blonde lady, close-up shot, soft focus camera, who, in a sultry, melt-your-socks voice, says, “If you want to capture someone's attention—whisper.” At which point young male viewers' shoes would burst into flame and they'd go out and buy that particular perfume for their girlfriends (or for their hopes for girlfriends).

Several years ago, I remember teaching a Bible study in the youth room when one young lady decided she was bored and started up a conversation with the girl next to her. I asked her a few times to keep it down, but she persisted. Finally, (Keep in mind that I'm built like Baloo the Bear from Disney's Talespin.) I lifted the end of the couch she was sitting on so that we were face to face and whispered, “It's my turn to talk.” She didn't say a word for the next hour.

If you want to capture someone's attention… Elijah was hiding out in cave. He'd just beaten the odds-on favorite in a My-God-Is-Bigger-Than-Your-God competition. The Bible says there was an earthquake but God wasn't in the earthquake. There was a fire but God wasn't in the fire. There was a tornado but God wasn't in the tornado. Then there was a still, small voice.

If you want to capture someone's attention…

I have a friend named Al who frequently reminds me that God will speak to me in one of two ways. God will whisper in my ear, or hit me on the head with a brick. Al says, “You can listen for the whisper, or you can wait for the brick.” More often than not, the brick comes because I haven't been listening for the whisper.

Too often we judge ourselves (or perhaps it's the administrative board that judges us) by the size of the group at the church down the road. The church with four kids in the senior high group is compared to St. Someone down the road that has a dozen. St. Someone is compared to the non-denominational Mega Church that has over a hundred. Where does it stop? Who said that 300 kids bouncing up and down at a mega-youth event qualifies as ministry? You can plan great things for your group, but usually they feel that God-connection when there are just a few people in the room and we're reading the Scripture by the light of one candle. It's not a concert with 500 lighters in the air…'scuse me—Christian journal…500 glow sticks in the air; it's one candle. It's not a tornado. It's a gentle breeze.

If you want to capture someone's attention…

Your kids can hear a powerful sermon about living the kind of life they're called to live, but what's going to make the difference is when one adult simply whispers to a troubled kid, “If you want to talk to me, I'm here.”

If you want to capture someone's attention…

In our own lives and careers we want to know we're being effective. Despite doing the work just because Jesus wants us to, guess what? We're human. We'd like to have the senior pastor say what a good job we do. We'd like someone to throw a party in our honor. Okay, some of us want a parade and to be showered with gifts. We want God to look down and put big hats on our heads that light up and say, “I just love this guy!” We want the loud stuff so much that we don't pay attention to that e-mail from a former student who's now in college and was writing to say, “Hi.” We fail to see that the postcard a kid sent while on vacation is speaking volumes.

If you want to capture someone's attention…

God is still speaking. God is speaking volumes to us. Sometime we have to shut up long enough to hear what we're being told. The choice is ours; we can listen for the whisper, or we can wait for the brick. Trust me. The brick hurts. Listen for the whisper.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.