Christian Living, faith

Turn Down the Noise

Psalm 17:6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words (ESV. )

The other day my husband and I got into an argument. It started with a misunderstanding. I walked in the living room to find the children watching a learning video. I asked (or attempted to) my husband a question. He didn’t hear all of what I said. There was too much noise. He told me first to speak louder, then responded with a statement that didn’t match my inquiry. We both thought we could just speak louder and the communication would be fine. It wasn’t.

Not until the television was quieted and the kids were settled did the mess actually get resolved. Both of us clearly thought we understood the other person. But we didn’t. I sought God shortly after in prayer and exclaimed in frustration, “Speak louder. I can’t hear you!” In that moment a spiritual light bulb went on. God was speaking. He didn’t need to talk louder. I needed to be quieter.

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I have been processing the times in my life when I thought God wasn’t speaking. I’ve discovered a few things.

  • God communicates primarily through His Word.
  • He doesn’t always use words
  • God speaks through His creation (sometimes people)
  • Silence doesn’t mean ignored
  • His voice is, in general, more like a whisper
  • You have to listen to hear
  • He speaks through peace or a “check/caution”
  • If we are in sin or not seeking wholeheartedly we cannot usually hear (though there are scriptural examples of God speaking through a donkey or using a whale with Jonah)

The bottom line is…God and the world around us has lessons to teach. We must be humble enough to recognize them and apply the wisdom to our lives. Sometimes our lives are too loud to hear Him.

Today, I want to encourage you to be still. Read the Word, pray, and let your prayer be a two way conversation. Speak, then listen. Or perhaps let God speak first. Just recently I’ve been doing that. My formula used to always be “I speak then He speaks.” Really, what He has to say is more important than my words. God is much smarter.

Get somewhere quiet. Or at least be in solitude with yourself. Riding a bus is alone although there’s people around you. In the car. The shower. While vacuuming. On break at work. There’s time if you really want to.

Get quiet. You never know what He’ll say.

1 Samuel 3:10 ESV And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

Job 13:22 ESV Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and you reply to me.

Psalm 119:135 ESV Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

Colossians 4:2 ESV Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Christian Living

The Purging in the Waiting

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him (ESV).

Purge: rid (someone) of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition, typically giving a sense of cathartic release.

I saw this verse recently posted on Facebook: Psalm 105:19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him (ESV). I sent it to someone who responded by saying “purged”. Release. Cleansed. The waiting tests us. Tries us. Breaks us. Cleanses us. It is uncomfortable, painful at times, and frustrating. Waiting can be like nails on a chalkboard. You just want it to end. Now. But, waiting can also strengthen and renew. Yes, it really can. There’s waiting for the sake of waiting. Then waiting for the sake of necessity. There’s yet another type of waiting. Waiting on the Lord.

I hate waiting. There, I said it. My flesh can’t stand it. Patience is a fruit of the Ruach (Spirit) I’m lacking. Letting it do it’s full work in us makes us perfect and complete, lacking nothing (see James 1:4). Patience definitely hasn’t done its full work. I’m still being refined. Purged. I’ve often wondered why God does this. Why does He make us wait so long sometimes? Why did He tell David, Joseph, or Abraham something they’d have to wait a long time on to see its fulfillment? It is not because God is mean. On the contrary, it is because He is loving and merciful. He wants to give us hope, direction, and comfort. God desires to give us insight so we’re not stuck in the dark, clueless.

When the Creator decides to tell you a promise about something, He is giving you a virtual little cheat sheet. The test will come. There will be questions and situations to process and properly answer. But you know you’ll pass it and what happens when you do. The time in between the word and its fulfillment is the purging. And it’s beautiful.

Just very recently I’ve switched perspectives and seen my struggles as an opportunity to draw very close to God. Be aware of His presence as much as the air I breathe. The sunlight streaming in from the window. The stars twinkling in the night sky. The smile on my children’s faces. Our Maker is seen in all of it. Even in my prayer times crying on the floor He is there. I’m more conscious of my need for Him and feel His heartbeat with greater intensity. The most painful yet beautiful experiences I’ve had were when I was pouring my tears out before God. Somehow although He feels distant He also feels especially close. And He is.

Today, I want to challenge you to let God purge you. Refine you. Work patience in you as you wait. The waiting is for a good purpose. I’m learning that life flies by so fast. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey, not just look for the destination. It will come soon enough.

Psalm 27:14 ESV Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Psalm 33:20-22 ESV Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Lamentations 3:25 ESV The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.