Wake up. Meetings. Phone calls. Emails. Meals on the go. More emails. Obligations. Still more emails. Spend family time. Collapse into bed. Repeat. Does any of this sound familiar?
This is how far too many people in this day and age would describe their life. With the technological advances of the cell phone, many people actually work more rather than less and the labor-saving devices we adopted keep us running on the hamster wheel more than ever before. While it may not be true for you, it was becoming true for me and it was taking me to a place of spiritual poverty where I struggled to hear from God and where the stress was impacting me in all sorts of odd ways. So I took the time to ask myself a few questions that have caused me to reorder the way that I do life. Maybe you need to ask yourself the same questions as well:
When did this start to happen?
Why did I let it?
Maybe most importantly, how can I stop it?
How do we, as people of faith, say no the incessant demands of our connectivity driven culture and take the time to just be quiet and hear from God?
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is going to hear from God. He has served faithfully. God has answered with fire. The prophets of Bael are defeated. But he has also run afoul of the evil king and his bride. He has now run in fear for his life from Queen Jezebel and is out and away from any and all distractions. The noise of people and commitments is gone. Though he feels abandoned, it is just him alone with God. He is in the back of a cave waiting for God’s presence. He is going to meet with God and nothing will get in the way. First there is a great and powerful wind that tears the mountains apart; but God is not in the wind. Then there is an earthquake which is followed by fire; but God is in neither in the earthquake nor the fire. The loud and demanding things, the huge and powerful things, the things which demanded Elijah’s attention, were devoid of God. After all these huge events, “…there came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his head and went out to the mouth of the cave.”(12b-13) The gentle whisper, so quiet amidst the hustle and bustle, is only heard by those who seek it.
I knew that I needed to start seeking that gentle whisper again; to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and start listening for God. I had been reminded of the need to take time and listen for God as I reread the book, Mentoring Leaders, by Dr Carson Pue. He writes passionately about our need for solitude, a time when we unplug, close our mouths, and focus on what God has for us. I took that time on a 3 and a half hour car ride this week to just listen and see what God had to say. For long stretches at a time it was just me listening for God, asking Him now and then what He has for me. I left the radio off and put my phone aside. I even went so far as to picture myself holding a remote so that I could turn down the volume on the life decisions that needed to be made and the different thoughts running through my mind that were demanding my attention. And you know what? Like Elijah, I heard from God.
No, there was no call to radically change my job or switch up my geography. What I did have was a reminder of Psalm 16:11 which says, ” You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (italics mine) God met me on the highway that day and spoke peace into my life. And He is waiting to speak that gentle whisper into your life…if you’ll unplug and listen.