2002-02-08 - Listening for His Voice
1 Kings 19:11-13 (NASB) So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.'' And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking 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.After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?''
Several decades ago, there was a hit song called "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places." Sometimes we are listening for God's voice in the wrong places, as well. And at other times, we simply are not open to hearing God's voice in unexpected places.
Sometimes God speaks through a child. One of the most moving encounters I have ever witnessed, was a young child running up to sit on the lap of a relative. She happened to weigh around 400 pounds. I thought "to so many people, this woman would be a person to laugh at or criticize, but to this child, he doesn't see her size. He only sees his beloved grandmother." Like God, this child "looked upon the heart, rather than outward appearance." (See 1 Samuel 16:7.) I heard God's voice from a "teacher" who wasn't even old enough to attend school.
Sometimes God speaks to us through someone whom society deems as "useless." One of my favorite authors, the late Henri Nouwen, had wrapped up his identity in his profession, as many of us do. If he wasn't "doing," he didn't feel productive. Then he moved into L'Arche, a residence for mentally handicapped people. In taking care of these young men who could not even feed or clothe themselves, he realized that we derive our value not from what we "do," but from the fact that we are created in God's image. Nowen heard God's voice in the young men who couldn't even speak verbally.
I encourage you to look around your world today. In whose words or actions might you hear God's voice? Ask Him to help you recognize His voice in the people and events that surround you. He can speak to us through a family member or friend, a book, a song, a checkout girl at the grocery store, even through someone with a "simple" mind. In fact, sometimes He speaks the most poignantly through them.