SHHH! Listen up!

8:28 PMHeather

The good news is that my boys (ages 14 and 12) both have phones.  Phones they saved for and bought on their own.  This means I can contact them and they can contact me.  This means, too, that I'm in the loop because they know that the rule in our house is that Mom and Dad stalk them via their texts and such.  Because the content of their phones are reviewed by us.  And, this means that I have one more thing to leverage when consequences are necessary.  

The bad news is...my boys have phones.  Which means that I can begin to speak to them and get an empty "a-ha, yep..." response.  Meaning they are way too involved in their Instagram or texting or kik or whatever else occupies their time.  And they aren't REALLY listening to me.  They are too distracted.

Gotta be honest, bloggy friends.  Lately, I've been battling this feeling that my prayer life looks a lot like that.  I'm pouring out the same requests, over and over.  And somehow I get the feeling that He is too distracted--you know, what with ruling over the Universe and all--and He's not REALLY listening.  Lately, I sorta feel that He may be half-listening.  I simply don't feel heard.  It's the same empty feeling I have when I know that my boys are tuning me out.

I know.  It's not super spiritual of me.  And, my head knows it's not true.  But my heart is another matter.  Altogether.

So, this past Sunday night at our Life Group, we were diving in to Exodus and talking about the Israelites in the wildnerness.  Why, yes.  How applicable.  I sorta feel I'm wandering around aimlessly here, waiting on some direction and answers.  And although I find it ironic that I completed Priscilla Shirer's study of the Exodus last fall, I can't seem to find a knot in my rope here to grab on to.  I just feel as though I'm slipping and sliding around, looking for a foothold to keep me from this descent into discouragement.

Waiting is exhausting work.  This waiting with no direction and no end in sight is kicking my booty.

But, as we talked about the Israelites wandering, we got to the part when they were preparing to hear God at Mount Sinai.  That place where God would show up.  And it would be so overwhelming that they had to be ready.  It was a mighty show of who He was.  It was the audible voice that so many of us often long for.  Our life group discussion turned to how we, too, can hear God.

And I was reminded that so many times, we miss God's voice because we are waiting for the mountain to shake violently and a cloud of His presence to show up while His booming voice rings out, breaking the silence.

As we wait, we are wailing and gnashing our teeth and moaning and groaning about wanting God to just answer us.  Except He cannot even be heard above the din of our despair.  

Like Elijah, we wait for God to show up when we feel beaten down and worn thin and just sick and tired.  Like Elijah, we feel pursued by our circumstances, left all alone.  At the end of our proverbial rope.  1 Kings 19 tells us all about how Elijah was fleeing his pursuers, and crying out about how he'd served the Lord and now felt like God wasn't listening.  Elijah even told God that he was all alone.  Feeling abandoned.

How like Elijah I feel.  

Elijah sat there in the cave, and God said He was coming!  And there was a great and strong wind that tore at the mountain and literally caused a rock slide.

But, the Lord was not in the great and strong wind.

Next came an earthquake, mighty and powerful. 

But, the Lord was not in the earthquake.

Then, a bright fire burned.

But, the Lord was not in the fire.

No.  He was in the gentle blowing wind that came last.  Easily imperceptible.  Unless you were looking for it.  That's where the Lord showed up.  That's where the Lord bent low to the earth to interrupt Elijah's despair and answer him.

How like Elijah I am.  I want the fire and earthquake and mighty wind.  I expect God to be elaborate and loud and obvious.  And if I am not careful to train my eyes, I won't see that He is actually answering.  He is actually with me.  He is sending me quiet little love notes.  But, I have to listen up.

I have to look for Him in the hug of my children.  In the devotion of my husband.  In the fact that I've been given another day.  That someone posted a particular Scripture on Facebook that encourages me.  In the song that speaks to me when I turn on the radio.  In the fellowship of friends as we work out.  In the refrigerator filled with food.  In the shelter of my home from the hot Texas sun.  In the provision of money to pay all my bills.  In the closet of clothes to choose from.  In the great parking spot when I'm going to shop.

Those are His quiet whispers.  Sometimes, God does just simply show off when He shows up.  But, sometimes, He answers quietly.  And, if I'm more mindful to train myself, to still myself, to pray and ask...THEN and only then will I see how He intersects my day.  

But, I have to pay attention.  

If I'd only quit assuming He's too distracted to really hear me.  If I'd put away my own distractions and look.  Then, I would see that His eye is trained on me, just as His eye is on the sparrow.  He is, indeed, watching me.  He's dancing over me.  He's rejoicing over me with singing.  He's waiting to quiet me with His love.  He hems me in from behind and goes before me.

Help my unbelief, Father.  Give me the ability to find you in the gentle blowing wind!  May it sweep away my discontent in this season of waiting.

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