I had a lot on my mind driving home from Chicago today. God and I entered into an intense conversation (there have been several this week), and in the midst of my shouting I quickly realized that I couldn't hear Him.
I changed the radio station to a Christian frequency, thinking that the Holy Spirit might use the music to speak to my heart.
So I flipped on my iPod to listen to a sermon, hoping that I might find my answers in the teacher's words.
Changed it over to "The Message" audio book. Nothing. Tried a few worship CD's. Nothing. Still driving.
God, please speak to me, I said.
Then I was reminded about how God spoke to Elijah. The guy was chillin' on a mountain top, and he wanted to hear God. The scriptures say that that there was a loud tornado, but God's voice wasn't in the tornado. He might have been discouraged. Then an earthquake shook the ground, but Elijah couldn't hear God's voice in the earthquake, either. Finally, a blazing fire -- yet still no voice of God.
Then, as all of the racket cleared up - God whispered to Elijah in a still, small voice. God's voice wasn't in the noisy distractions, He was in the silence.
Immediately, I punched the car stereo's OFF button. The sound of the heater vents whooshed on. I shut those off, too (which made for a very cold car ride). All of a sudden - in the midst of silence - God was finally able to speak to my quiet heart:
Jake, I love you. Even before you were flesh, I knew you. Get ready ... keep preparing the way ... the best is yet to come. Trust me. I know EXACTLY what I'm doing.
My goal for this week is to pray more, and to seek more opportunities for silence. I'm reminded that "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Usually after teaching, He "went up on a mountainside by himself to pray." I'm not sure that the "mountainside" was significant (I can't find any in Peoria) - but I think the "by himself" may have been the key.
And let this be my prayer: "Yet not as I will, but as you will, Father" (Jesus said that, too).