Listening through the Silence

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In this day and time, do we truly know how to listen?  Listening takes time and effort.  It may be just me, but do you occasionally simply zone out during a conversation, until it’s your turn to talk.  The process of listening is especially difficult, when it’s silent.  Wait! …that sounds like an oxymoron.  Again, it’s probably just me, but do you feel a tad uncomfortable with an individual or in a group of people and no one is talking.  Do we feel the need to break the silence?  I’ll give you a recent example…

On Saturday mornings, I have coffee with my husband.  Needless to say, I usually do most of the talking (go figure!).  Well, this particular morning, I decided to be quiet and wait for my husband to speak first.  The silence was deafening! It was actually unnerving to sit in silence, it was almost painful.  Then after what seemed an eternity had passed, my husband said, as he usually does, “so what’s on your big mind?” I actually let out a big sigh of relief, to finally be able to talk.  So, how does this apply to our conversations with the Lord and His Holy Spirit?  Is it truly possible to listen, when it’s silent; when it appears that the Lord just isn’t saying anything?

So, please bear with me as I share with you a little story about the prophet, Elijah.  I pray that this may give you a little more context to what I mean, when I say listening through the silence.  The Lord has told Elijah to go to King Ahab, you may remember him as Jezebel’s husband, and tell him that there would be no rain or dew for the next few years.  Then the Lord sent him into hiding by the Kerith Brook.  You may remember the story, because it was there that the ravens brought him food. Ravens are consider dirty birds, a very unlikely source to bring anyone food.  Then it appeared that God just stopped talking. Elijah was cool. He has food and water.  He’d just have wait until the Lord gave him his next set of instructions. 

Now this may have been ok, but the brook (his water source) slowly began to dry up, because there had been no rain.  So now what?  What would you do?  Nothing can make us second guess ourselves more than when we implement something that we know God told us to do, and it doesn’t quite work the way we planned.  The Lord will disrupt a rather settled, peaceful situation, and then it seems like He goes silent. I’m sure Elijah thought all kinds of things. For example, “God really? (Paraphrased, of course :-D), I know you told me to come here.”  This is normally the time that we will start talking to the Lord.  What a novel idea! First, we listen, then, we talk.  God is listening for our voice; our voice has a unique sound in God’s ear. The Lord wants to hear us, even in our frustration; even in our disappointment.

The Bible doesn’t give us, just how long Elijah waited, but we can surmise that it took a while for the brook to dry up. Then, at some point, the Lord told Elijah to come out of hiding and go to Zarephath.  Do you think that maybe the brook dried up just so Elijah would have to move?  Has the Lord disrupted our comfortable and peaceful surroundings, (i.e., a pandemic) to force us to move?  Well, just like Elijah, it just may be time for the Lord to perform miracle after miracle through us.  You’ll have to read the rest of the story when you have a moment in1 Kings, Chapter 17.

Many times, God will use our frustration to motivate us, accelerate His plan for us; and to recreate us, into what He needs us to be. Our obedience is crucial, and ultimately, it may have nothing to do with us, but, it’s for the person that’s in the place that God has sent us. Elijah was told to come out of hiding to help a widow and her son.   Sometimes, to establish something new in our life, God must disturb us, disrupt our peaceful place with plenty of water and set us in a place that is dry.  Then, at some point, we will have to move… 

Are we listening in the silence waiting for our next set of instructions from the Lord or are we simply waiting for our next turn to talk?

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