I had forgotten that hearing God in the ordinary everyday moments of life was a practiced ability. It is a skill to be honed as a tool, tuned as an instrument and sharpened as a blade. It requires conscious, continuous practice to hear the low whisper of God in the ordinary; to recognize His presence in the smalls, the bigs and everything in between.
Recently, I asked a 10 year old if she ever remembered a time when she had asked God to help her do something that she knew and believed he had answered for her. It took a bit of thinking but her answer was a spectacular back flip into the pool. That was not the answer I was fishing for. I had cast my net out hoping for a simple, “I prayed for God to help me study for a test.” or “I prayed for courage to talk to the new girl at school.” I was hoping for a simple prayer in an ordinary moment in life.
But of course she thought of that particular moment! It was a hallmark feat in her life! She really knew and believed God was her helper. She called upon Him and He heard her. He was her helper. And a wonderful moment it was! It was personal and important to her. I was blessed to hear her story.
That moment made me think of how often we miss the low whispers of the God of the details. The same God who parted the seas also knows when one sparrow falls to the ground. While, as believers in Jesus, we want to be seen, heard and known by God, God desires to be seen, heard and known by His people. The invisible God is made known to us through His Word and creation. He is experienced as we diligently seek him even in the routine, common areas of our lives. He acts on our behalf as we wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).
Elijah was prophet running for his life from the wicked Jezebel. In a cave on Mount Horeb the word of the Lord came to him.
1 Kings 19:11-13 And he Said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” 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. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in the cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?’
God was not found in the spectacular; the wind, the earthquake, the fire. God was found in the low whisper. There were no flashing lights, sirens, ground shaking announcements or heraldic proclamations. A low whisper. When Elijah heard it, he drew closer to it and positioned himself to hear. Elijah desired a personal moment with the Lord. Only those who are near, with an ear tuned to the voice can hear a low whisper.
The amazing, miraculous, and astounding are seen because their presence disrupts, unsettles and overshadows the ordinary. What of the daily whispers? How do we recognize God in the common? How do we come to realize that God helps us in our strengths as well as our weaknesses? It is He who gives us gifts, talents and abilities and who helps us in our struggles. He is still there directing and delighting in the details. Psalm 37:23 tells us that “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” And yet, so often we miss Him in the common, everyday, ordinary moments of life.
Psalm 37:5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him and he will help you.
Recognizing God in the whispers of life takes practice. How did Elijah listen? He drew closer to God’s voice and positioned himself to hear. Elijah tuned his ear to the voice of God. One very simple but profoundly important way to hear God in everyday, ordinary moments of life is to pray about those very things. Praying positions us to wait and watch for the Lord. Praying heightens our awareness of God’s presence in those moments. Praying affords us a platform for gratitude and thankfulness and multiplies blessings and glory back to the giver of all good gifts. Praying and giving thanks in all things reckons us to say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper.” (Heb. 13:6)
Loving Father and Attentive Lord, I pray to you that I might see you this day in the whispers of life; that I may seek to know you in the ordinary and recognize your handiwork and fingerprint on the details of my day. Give me the grace to recognize and acknowledge, in those moments of accomplishment, that in my own strength and apart from you I can do nothing. May your spirit open my eyes to see you in all things and give me a listening ear to hear your still, small voice. Amen!