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How to hear God’s voice

May 11, 2011

Reminder (we all need them): God doesn’t often shout.

My bicycle commute takes me through an Illinois Nature Preserve, down miles of canopied forest trail, over the most beautiful vanishing point lesson, and past a bird sanctuary. My favorite part, though, is the stretch of bike path that cuts through a forgotten, sleepy neighborhood.

In the mornings, especially, no one is on that piece of trail. No one smiles as they pass, or nods good morning, or gently calls out, “On your left.” No one chatters while they walk or shifts gears. The roads are abandoned, and the interstate is so far away that the houses and trees have forgotten it.

It’s quiet.

Yesterday morning I pedaled without propelling myself much, just to keep the freewheel from buzzing, and the quiet was breath-taking.

Just the gentle whir of my rubber tires against the pavement and one solitary robin with an occasional, short melody to sing.

I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone else heard that bird except for me and the One who taught it to sing, and as soon as the thought crossed my mind it humbled me as well. That I would be invited to sit beside the King of kings, alone, to hear a song He wrote.

“Doesn’t He know what kind of woman this is?” I quoted as I spun my pedals in a meaningless circle.

“She’s the audience and the song,” was His quick reply.

I rattled over a wooden bridge and met traffic again.

That evening I took a deep breath as I approached that bridge again, secretly hoping there would be no cute family to break the gentle quiet.

There wasn’t.

I sat up straight as I pedaled, to ease the pressure on my shoulders, and remembered the robin from that morning. It wasn’t around, or it wasn’t taking requests, but I thought about it as I pushed my face through the cool air.

And I thought about God and His still, small voice.

I thought about His still, small voice in the baby aardvark that I’d seen in the news days ago – just born in a zoo, which is a big deal, apparently. I thought about His still, small voice in the sunset that had begun over the river as I’d set out for home, and in the blossoming trees that swirl like sugar in the evening air.

And I wondered why I always seem to want Him to yell. When I have a problem, or a decision, or when I’m confused or angry. I want Him to speak clearly, and loudly, so I know what to do without question, so the path is clear.

He doesn’t often yell, but He’s always whispering. When I sit up straight, and keep pedaling even though I don’t feel like it’s doing anything, I can hear Him whisper. And it’s so much more beautiful than a shout.

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