“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”1 Kings 19:12 KJV
There is a lot of noise in the world. Between kids, pets, work, television, media etc., there is hardly a moment’s peace. I will never forget coming home from work one day to an empty house. I went into the kitchen only to hear my kids screaming in the background. I immediately turned to tell them to quiet down, only to realize they weren’t there. It was the first “quiet” I had known in a long time and all I could hear in my head was noise. Having this experience has taught me about the beauty of how God speaks to us.
Descriptions of how we hear God are words such as peace, warmth, calm, joy, love. These words have one thing in common; they are feelings. I find it interesting and quite fitting that God does not always speak to us with sound, but rather to our spirit through His spirit. The still, small voice that touches our hearts is the witness that God lives and is interested in our well-being. In this way, He can penetrate through the noise of our daily lives to reach our hearts. The quiet calm, the peaceful joy that you feel inside will bring you closer to His presence. This is the principle way God speaks to us, and recognizing this will help us better listen to and communicate with Him.
Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Professor, puts it this way:
“We speak to each other in physical, analog ways. Our vocal cords vibrate. This initiates waves in the air, which are also physical. These waves hit the eardrums of others, causing them to vibrate, which in turn creates tiny electrical signals that transport those vibrating patterns to the listeners’ brains. In turn, the signals initiate neurons to zip around our brains, distilling the concept that the speaker wanted to convey. The key concept is that these are physical, mechanical phenomena. We don’t hear with our ears, we hear with our brains. Our wonderful ears are converters; they transform mechanical into electronic signals.
“So far as we know, these physical, mechanical waves that convey speech don’t work in space, where there is no atmosphere. So if two astronauts took off their helmets on the moon and tried to talk to each other, it wouldn’t work, because there is no air in which vibrations can be converted into waves. So they need to talk electronically, not mechanically.
“This is a long way of saying that you should not expect God to speak to you by these physical waves that your ears collect. Rather, He dispatches the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of God, to you, and His spirit can communicate to your spirit inside of you directly to your brain or your feelings – without going through mechanical-electrical conversions in your ears. A lot of people get confused because they try to hear God’s voice with their ears, and they don’t hear anything. Instead, you need to listen inside of yourself.”(Christensen, Clayton, The Power of Everyday Missionaries.)
I remember, when I was a teenager, I was driving home one night on an empty street, while listening to loud music. As I approached an intersection, where I had the right of way, I heard a “voice” that went straight to my core and shook me. The voice simply whispered: “stop!” It was such a powerful voice, that I quickly put on the brakes of the car and came to a stop just before the intersection, where a car I could not see came flying through the stop sign and certainly would have crushed me.
It wasn’t that I avoided the accident, it was that I could hear a voice so penetrating that not only did I hear it through the music, but after several years, I can still feel the way it felt. I can feel how powerful it was. And yet the description is that it whispered, didn’t shout or scream. I did not hear it with my ears but in my heart and in my mind.