As I have gotten older my hearing has dimmed just a bit. When I am in a crowd or at a party sometimes all the talking sounds like the tide roaring in at the beach and I find myself tuning out of conversations while I politely smile and nod. A more serious problem with growing older is that it seems easier and easier for me to ignore advice. “I’ve heard it all before!” I think about a large variety of things. Maybe part of the problem is linked to information overload. I just can’t stand hearing another commercial about the latest diet, stress relief or vacation package. It is as if everyone is shouting and though their volume has increased, my hearing them has diminished.
But I begin to get into real trouble when that feeling of information overload begins to carry into my relationships. If before I begin a conversations I start out by thinking “Oh I know they won’t agree so why ask.” or “Do I really want to go through hearing their opinion again?”
The danger is that if we allow it, our ears will grow callouses over them so thick we won’t even be able to hear when God speaks. Often when Jesus told stories he ran into people who just like myself had grown a bit dull of hearing. He had a short but important bit of advice for us all today.
And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Mark 4:9
Remember that God gave us ears for listening. Our greatest challenge isn’t in finding some miraculous means of hearing from God such as angels or visions. Our greatest challenge is to remember it is more important to listen to those close to us to tell us the truth. Often God uses them as His still small voice. May we never be too old to listen to His advice!!
…And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper 1 Kings 19:11-12
A lot has been said (and sung) about the fire of God falling. There are many contemporary songs calling on God to send the fire, or that God’s fire is falling. Though on the day of Pentecost the Bible does tell us that the Holy Spirit manifested himself in tongues of flame over the heads of the disciples, it was not the same. The fire Elijah saw both on the mountain of God and at Mount Carmel was a fire that fell and burned everything up in its path. It was a manifestation of the Holiness and the Judgement of God. Anything that fire fell on was consumed.
But in fact, the revival we need is not in the wind, it is not in the earthquake and it is not in the fire. The revival we need is in listening to the quiet voice of God. I recall back when I was younger working long hot days in the woods, cutting trees. At lunch time on the hottest days, I liked nothing better than to take off my heavy work boots, and sit on a rock in a stream letting the cool water flow over my aching feet. The strangest thing was the power of the gentle sound of that stream. When lunch hour was over one of the other guys working with me could call my name over and over again, but unless we made eye contact I couldn’t hear a sound. The whisper of the stream carried away all other sounds and filled me up with a quietness all its own.
In the same way the revival, both in our church and in our own personal life comes only when the sounds of the earthquakes, the windstorms and the fires are washed away with the gentle whisper of God. He longs to draw us to Himself, fill us and send us on our way with a new hope and purpose. We need to take off our shoes, sit in the holy presence of God and open our heart to that low whisper from heaven. That is true revival and that is the heart of God.