A couple of years ago I attended a baptism. One of the speakers shared a wonderful story that really touched me. He told a story about a man who worked in a place with lots of sawdust. One day he lost his pocket watch. It was a very special gift from his grandfather and was a tremendous value to him. He asked everyone to help him find it. Nobody could find it. He stayed after work, feeling really distressed. As he sat there in the silence, he heard the “tick, tick, tick” of the watch. He was able to go right over and uncover it.
Life is like that. There are so many noises, that we have a very difficult time hearing the things that matter most. We too need to spend time in silence in order to hear, and find, and discover, and create valuable things in our lives. God speaks in the silence. One man said that silence is God’s language.
You remember what the Lord taught us about this in the Old Testament. 1Kings 19:11-12 “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake 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 a still, small voice.” We must learn to listen to the still, small voice.
There are two types of noise; external and internal.
It’s possible that it may be silent around you but noisy inside you. Or it may be silent inside and noisy outside. The ideal for listening effectively is to have silence both inside yourself and outside yourself. We know about the things that create noise around us, and we need to make our best efforts to create silence when we are seeking inspiration. But often we are not aware of the things that create noise inside of us. Pride, anger, envy, jealousy, ego, judging, doubt, discouragement, fear.
Make time for quiet moments- the Lord whispers.
Yet so few can handle the quiet. Many can’t or won’t tolerate silence. Myriad young people especially think they need music and noise constantly. Phones, iPods, radios, movies- something always in their ear.
If there is something in your life that is making you “hard of hearing;” something you think, see, hear, say, feel or do, then have the courage and the discipline to eliminate it from your life.
“To better hear His voice, it would be wise to turn down the volume control of the worldly noise in our lives. If we ignore or block out the promptings of the Spirit for whatever reason, they become less noticeable until we cannot hear them at all. Let us learn to hearken to the promptings of the Spirit and then be eager to heed them.” (Dieter Uchtdorf )
We must be able to hear and respond to the voice of the Lord through the midst of all the babble of voices that surround us. Hearing and heeding this voice will keep us from becoming barbarians!
One of the best habits we could create in ourselves is to set aside a little time each day for silent study, thought and prayer. I try to do this throughout the day, but I always do it early in the morning. For me, first thing in the morning, when my mind and body are refreshed, this habit works the very best. Doing it first thing in the morning also helps remind me to hone in during the day, and guard myself from the noise.
Begin today! Set aside some quiet time to listen. Listening is an art the should be developed throughout your entire life. Practice, practice, practice.