Recently I was driving in my car, my thoughts careening all over the place (just my thoughts, not my car), when I suddenly realized I had tightened my grip on the steering wheel and my stress level had gone way up. I gradually became aware that music I hadn’t even been paying attention to was belting from the speakers. I hit the off button and peace draped over my vehicle like a thick blanket.
The tension that had been knotting up my shoulders released and I relaxed against the back of my seat. I was shocked at how the cacophony of sound filling the air around me had so agitated me even though I hadn’t truly been conscious of it.
It got me thinking. How often do I wander through life—down a busy sidewalk, inside a coffee shop filled with chattering people, even in my own home—without being aware of the noise even though it is clearly affecting me physically, emotionally, and mentally?
No wonder God calls us to intentionally be still so that we can know that he is God. Unless we make the conscious decision to turn off the noise all around us, how can we meditate on him, remember who he is and who we are in relation to him?
The world around us is filled with noise. We are so used to it that we rarely even notice it, yet it has a profound impact on us. It inhibits our ability to interact with our Creator, to hear his still, small voice.
One of the most powerful stories in the Bible is found in I Kings 19: “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 his cloak…”
Elijah had just proven to the prophets of Baal that God was the one true God. He was coming off a major victory, but then his life was threatened and he fled in terror. God, in his mercy, came to Elijah, reminding him that he was who Elijah had just proven him to be, not through clamor and noise or the clapping of thunder, but through a whisper.
The still, small voice of our Creator carries within it indescribable power, might, and majesty. It called the universes into being and it calls to us to listen so we can know who this God, divine king and ruler of all things, truly is.
But we need to turn off the noise. We need to intentionally be still, to come apart, to listen. May we do so this week, Holy Week, more than ever before. And may stillness, silence, and the whisper of God fill us with peace and prepare our hearts to fully embrace the sacredness of this Easter season.
Press on, my friends.
Press on (and be still),