Can They Hear Me Now?
If you tell someone you are hearing voices, they might start showing concern for your mental health. But it's true, right? There are a whole lot of voices out there in our world clamoring to be heard. And that means there is much to listen to – not only for us but for those that we serve.
So what do we know about those voices? Well, some tend to be emphatic and convincing and loud. But some are quiet and subtle and even subconscious. They may tell us something new or simply confirm what we already believe to be true. When they come from the lips of those we choose to admire we pay special attention. But without question the voices we hear have the potential to greatly influence.
And it’s in the midst of all the noise that we enter the fray with our message in hand because we, too, want to be heard. Our message generally speaks of the gospel and declares truth about our God as revealed in the Scriptures. We utilize talented speakers and trained counselors to proclaim this message. We teach bible studies and have chats around the fire and morning devotions and one on one conversations with our campers. There is much to be said, we believe, and camp provides the perfect setting to say it.
But I wonder if we might be saying too much. Is it possible that we focus so much on what we say and how we say it that we don’t give enough attention to a much greater voice? Don’t misunderstand, we are certainly called to proclaim and to bear testimony of Jesus but the voice I am talking about is that of God, himself. Allow me, if you will, some reminders from the Scriptures about the nature of this voice.
David (Shepherd and King) first heard from God, I suspect, as he sat alone watching over his family’s sheep. Maybe in the darkness of the night or when the flock was threatened that voice was especially clear. Or, maybe it was when God caused him to rest in green pastures or walk beside peaceful streams. Years later when he looked out from the cave of Adullam, while fleeing Saul, the voice of God undoubtedly echoed across the hills. Day after day poured forth speech, David would come to understand. Night after night God was making himself known. There was no place where his voice was not heard. God’s message came to him throughout the earth and with it came powerful truths.
Long before David came on the scene, Job heard that same message. Following a time of devastating loss a lot of “whys” were asked and friends stepped forward with answers. But it was the voice of the God who “laid the foundations of the earth”; a voice that “thundered in marvelous ways” that provided Job with all he needed to know. And as that thunder rolled across the heavens he declared “we can’t even imagine the greatness of his power”. At the same time he saw the wonderful perfection and skill of God with the simple movement of the clouds. And when all was said and done, Job admitted, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes…”
The prophet Habbakuk experienced the same when he wrestled with God about the injustice he saw around him. “I see God moving across the deserts…His brilliant splendor fills the heavens and the earth is filled with his praise. His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands where his awesome power is hidden”. When Habakkuk heard this “voice” he trembled and his lips quivered with fear. Yet it also gave him cause for great rejoicing.
The Apostle Paul says, “through everything God made (we) can see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature” to the degree that we have no excuse for not knowing him. This voice, which is there to be heard, is a voice that we must draw attention to, not overcrowd. We need to find ways to achieve quiet in the midst of a noisy world. We need to encourage the discipline of listening as we point to God’s creation that is at hand but all too often goes unnoticed. As we share the good news and declare God’s love we must do so fully aware that God, too, has much to say. And maybe in all of our program planning and worship leading and Bible expounding we can also respond ‘yes’ to a question God just might be asking us – can they hear me now?
[Psalm 19, 23; Job 40-42; Habakkuk 3; Romans 1]