White noise is that intentional sound that fills a space without really communicating anything of real purpose. It’s the fan on as you go to bed, it’s the tv on in the house when nobody is watching it, or the radio in the car even though you’re not paying attention. The sound of silence is often too loud for us to take and so our distracted minds roam from one filler to the next. God directs Elijah the prophet to listen for his coming, so Elijah takes out his earbuds, turns off his phone, and stands on Mount Horeb waiting for God to make something happen. And so a display of nature the likes of a 4th of July fireworks show in Boston Harbor occurs right before his very eyes from rock crushing winds, to the earth literally splitting open, to a blazing fire. Yet through all this God is recognized not in the flashy, showy ways of the world but in the tiny whispering sound heard only because Elijah was attentive not to how HE wanted God to show up, but rather to God making the first move.
We can find ourselves in that place where we want God to make something happen in our life, but we’re not actually open to what He wants for us—we simply want permission for what we want to do. God give me a sign or God speak to me can easily become God give me your approval. The way of the Lord requires us to be attentive to his voice in the silence of our hearts. Prayer is all about this—getting in tune with God as He directs our lives himself, you know He actually wants to do this—God desires to be a part of our choices and help us make decisions not solely based on our gut feeling or what seems to be generally acceptable by everyone else, but He has a plan for us if we simply are open to his invitation to “Come and follow Me.” The only guarantee is the place he is leading us—-to get there it’s going to require faith.
Jamarian Styles is a 13 year old boy who like many others his age loves the game of basketball. Last year Jamarian spoke to the coach informing him that he wanted to try out for the team. The problem was when Jamarian was an infant he has lost both of his hands and most of his arms due to a rare bacterial disease, but nothing could stop his desire to hoop it up. After getting on the team, he quickly earned a reputation for being one of the hardest workers being the first one at practice and the last to leave. Still, he was benched most of the year until one of the last games of season when he was put in at the 4th quarter. He was passed the rock as time was going out and he drained a 3 pointer and his team won.
Faith takes many shapes and sizes but it necessitates stepping outward—away from my safe place and against the odd—pursuing more. But having faith not merely in ourselves or our own abilities but in God allows him to be the answer. Peter got out of the boat, initially he had faith, he believed in Jesus but he lost his way because he lost his hearing, he became deaf to the voice of Jesus by re-directing his attention to the noises of the wind and the waves.
My brothers and sisters, God desires to speak to us this week. My invitation is for us to learn how to listen for his voice. Spend time each day in silence, not with an agenda, of things we want Him to take care of for us, or the list of what we need to do, but come like Elijah open to how God wants to speak, and maybe we can respond like Peter and take a step closer to our Lord.