While listening to the radio a few years back, a man's voice came over the airwaves that sounded familiar but I just couldn't place it. As he continued to speak, it began to drive me crazy that I couldn't place his voice. I knew I should know who this was! I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes and tried to picture whose face went with this familiar sounding voice. Then, it hit me... Tom Hanks! I'd seen enough Tom Hanks movies over the years to recognize his distinguishable tone.
But then I heard another voice. Not on the radio - but in my heart. It asked, "Do you know my voice? Is it familiar to you?" The bible says that the sheep know their shepherd's voice. When God speaks to me, do I stop dead in my tracks and say, "I know this voice!" Do I recognize Jesus when He whispers in my ear?
Later that summer, I read the story of Elijah. In the story, he had just seen God do miraculous things, but grew discouraged and said to God, "I have had enough, LORD...Take my life." God sent an angel to minister to him, feed him, and let him rest. Then God "showed up". A great a powerful wind tore mountains apart, shattering rocks, but the LORD was not in the wind. Then an earthquake, but the LORD wasn't in the earthquake. Then came a fire, but the LORD wasn't in the fire either. "And after the fire came a gentle whisper..." God spoke. Elijah listened. It's a beautiful story.
In our society, it's tough to go anywhere quiet. The car radio is on. Televisions clamor up the living rooms. Cars zoom past sidewalks. Shopping centers are filled with noise. Even my backyard if often noisy with the sounds of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. But quiet is so important. I can easily miss God's gentle voice when there is so much ruckus around. I want to answer, like Samuel, "Here I am," when he speaks. But first...I have to hear Him first.
Know His voice.