When we live in a culture that yells, demands, and commands our attention as piercingly as it does, we’re left what feels like little choice but to turn our ear in its direction.
It’s hard to tune out the voices of culture because the words the world screams, while cruel, are simultaneously full of promise. Our culture fluently speaks the language of the places inside of ourselves where we question our worth and goodness. Their voices tell us we can finally be enough when we dig in harder and toil unceasingly, so we do as we’re told because underneath it all, we just want to know we’re loved.
We’ve been trained by the clamor of the world that any voice worth hearing rings loud in our ears. It has to be raucous to compete with the hectic world we live in - a culture so full of accusations a roar of static buzzes in the background of our minds and hearts at all times. I don’t think this concept is something new to modern society, and here’s why:
In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah went to the mountain to meet with God. This phenomenon of cultural clamor isn’t anything new because Elijah looked for God in the hubbub of a hurricane, an earthquake, and a fire, but didn’t find Him in any of those things. Why else would Elijah think God would come to him in the noise unless he too believed anything worth hearing came in a loud roar? Like we so often do, did Elijah think that God was silent because He didn’t come to him in the noise? But then came something soft - called by some a soft breeze, and by others, a quiet whisper or a still small voice - and it was in that tenderness that God met Elijah.
God knows who He is, and He doesn’t have to compete with anything at all, even the loud cacophony of sound that comes from our culture. God can absolutely come to us in the midst of the noise, but I can’t help but wonder if when it feels like God is silent, is it because we have forgotten what His voice sounds like?
The truth is, God is never silent. He promises us again and again in his Word he will always talk to us. Jesus says we know his voice (John 10:27). God promises that He will not keep silent (Isa. 62:1) and that whether we turn to the left of the right, our ears will hear him say, “this is the way, walk in it” (Isa. 30:21). He exults over us with singing! (Zeph 3:17) I don’t know that anyone would love someone so much that they would celebrate over them with singing to only play the silent game when they needed guidance and support the most. In other words, something doesn’t match up when it feels like he’s not speaking to us.
If we expect his voice to sound like the taunts that ring loudly in our ears from the screams of the world, it’s no wonder we believe he’s silent. His words never carry the negative or condemning bite toward us like those of our culture. Instead, they are so sweet they drip with love (Psalm 119:103). Sometimes we think God’s words will only tell us where we need to straighten up, button up, and do better - all because that’s what we’re used to hearing. But this isn’t our Father’s heart, my friends. And his words reflect his heart.
So maybe instead of searching for the voice that rings loud in our ears, maybe we ought to instead search for the voice that whispers deep in our hearts. The same voice that spoke life into the universe speaks life into our hearts each and every moment.
He’s singing over each of us right this second, my friends. What if we had the audacity to know it was true? Would it change the way you listened for his voice?
I’d love to know what you think. Comment below or shoot me an email!