Don’t you just love a good whisper? We bond with best friends, family members and soulmates sharing inside jokes, reliving fond memories, or plotting new adventures. Yes, whispers are fun! …unless your ear is clogged. That ruins everything. Then you can’t hear what’s being said, the other person gets annoyed at having to repeat themselves (and even more annoyed that you
still can’t hear), and instead of connecting, now you’re arguing. (“What? Tell me!” – “No. Forget it!”) Not so fun. I know this because, as I write, my ear is clogged, and here I sit, alone.
Thank goodness God doesn’t treat us the way we treat each other! He is patient, even longsuffering, with His children. When our ears are clogged with fear, He doesn’t get mad or walk away. He lovingly and patiently waits until we’re ready to hear. Then He speaks, the water of His Word flushing out obstructions. For example, in 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah heard a rumor – the very wicked and powerful queen, Jezebel, vowed to have him killed. Now, it’s true she made the vow and meant it, but instead of going to God for verification, Elijah ran and hid. And this was just on the heels of a literal mountaintop experience for him – victory over the prophets of Baal in the famous “cook-off” on Mount Carmel. I’m not saying I blame Elijah for being afraid. It’s only natural to want to run when your life is threatened. But it seems he needed a reminder about who was in control. So, God went to Elijah to clear things up. “What are you doing here…?” And Elijah did hear God, but only after the wind, after the earthquake, and after the fire…in a still small voice. (Do you think God wanted his attention?) Life and death are in the palm of His hand. God can overcome the darkest threat as well as overrule the safest, healthiest lifestyle. No one dies a minute before their time because God is sovereign. That gives me great comfort. And it must’ve helped Elijah too because afterwards, he had the boldness to go back out and do as God instructed.
Whispers can be wonderful or worrisome, depending on the content. Rumors from an adversary, “less threatening” sweet nothings of a partner, even our own condemning voice, can pulverize and paralyze emotions. The devil is merciless. But God’s character is exactly the opposite: “God is not a man, that He should lie… Has He said, and will He not do? (Numbers 23:19) God’s love is pure. His promises are true and abundant. He desires a relationship with us, an honest, open relationship. That kind of intimacy requires time, transparency and sacrifice. However, when we cherish sin, not only will we not hear The Lord, He won’t hear us! (Psalm 66:18) Matthew Henry describes “cherish” this way: “If I treat it as a friend and bid it welcome, make provision for it and am loth to part with it, if I roll it under my tongue as a sweet morsel…” Sincere repentance is necessary. Thankfully, prayers fly swiftly to the ear of God on wings of broken confession. The Lord is able to sever those strongholds and redirect our desires. In Christ, we have everything we need for living a godly life. And due to this promise found in Isaiah 30:21, we can rest assured, God will guide: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Remember “Whisper Down the Lane”? It’s a game where the first person makes a statement, whispers to the next person, who changes something and by the time the last person relays the original statement, it’s not at all correct. That’s because the only way to know truth is to hear it straight from the original source. We can spare ourselves a lot of confusion by going to God first. Yet, when we forget, those hard times cause us to look to God more, lean on Him more, and learn from Him more, resulting in clearer vision, strengthened faith and ears tuned for instruction. Then, like Elijah, we’re equipped with boldness to obey, sharing God’s story through our own stories. Here’s how: “…if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart…then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path.” (Prov. 2:1-3, 9)
Mountaintops are awesome but even afterwards, ears can get clogged. I’d venture to say we’ve all been down that lane, waiting for a whisper. If you’re feeling lost, held hostage by anxiety, confused or maybe angry by something you’ve already heard, consider God’s question, “What are you doing here?” Let the Lord clear things up. A whisper from God is a hand on the shoulder, a laugh on the lips, a kiss to the soul – guidance, companionship and love everlasting. Grab some spiritual Debrox (your Bible) and be still. As Jesus often said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”