I had breakfast with a friend from our church the other morning who happens to be a drill instructor in the Marines. (Imagine a bald John Cena.) This is a guy who knows and understands the importance of volume and authority, which is what made the conversation so interesting and ironic. We were talking about hearing God's voice in our lives and how, many times, we just can't seem to find it. He used a great phrase that they use at Parris Island (Marine Base) to communicate a missing voice of authority. "They have NO VOLUME."
It got me thinking.
There are only two ways a voice loses volume:
- The voice quiets down to silence
- Other voices get louder.
So here's a simple thought to chew on: If God's voice has no volume in your life right now, is it because He is silent, or because you're listening to too many other voices?
I love the story of Elijah in 19. This great prophet of God has just called down fire from heaven and destroyed every prophet of Baal in the land through a head-to-head dual. After this great victory, the queen, Jezebel, sends a message to Elijah that when she finds him, she is going to kill him; so, he runs. (Strange thing to do after calling fire down from heaven, if you ask me, but that's a different story.)
After running he ends up in a cave listening for the voice of God. The Lord tells Elijah to go outside and stand before Him on the side of the mountain. The Lord passes Elijah three different times, first in a wind storm, then in an earthquake, and finally in a fire. Each time we are told that the Lord wasn't in any of them.
Now, think about that for a minute … all of the powers of nature, under God's command, including fire, which Elijah just called down from heaven … but God wasn't in any of them.
Finally, the Bible says, "And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he … went out and stood at the entrance of the cave." (1 Kings 19:13)
Read that again. Notice when Elijah went out to stand before God? "When Elijah heard it (the whisper)."
So many times I have read this passage and thought about listening for God's still, small voice in the midst of chaos, and that's an important lesson, but there is another lesson to learn from Elijah:
Elijah recognized God's voice.
- It wasn't that God's voice was louder than everything else - He didn't speak in the wind, quake, or fire.
- It wasn't that God's voice was the only voice. I know I'm reading into it a bit, but Elijah was afraid, tired, frustrated, and alone. What voices do you hear when you feel like that? Not to mention he was in a cave on a hillside after a windstorm, earthquake, and fire!
But when God did speak, Elijah new His voice.
In your life right now, does God's voice have volume?
If not, before you blame Him for speaking too soft or not loud enough, maybe you should take time getting to know what His voice sounds like so you'll recognize it when He does speak.
- Spend time in His Word (the Bible, not someone else's book about the Bible).
- Spend time in prayer, alone, listening, not telling God what you want or asking Him for stuff.
- Spend time worshiping Him however you worship Him best - in nature, with music, with art, writing, singing, contemplating, journaling.
- Spend time with Him ... getting to know His voice.
Just a thought from one trying to listen too ...