Thursday, July 9, 2015

The quiet way of God

   I love trains. My dad's father was a depot operator for the Savannah to Atlanta Line nearly a century ago. My grandmother grew up with those tracks in her front yard. I have grown to have a deep appreciation for what they mean to our nation's history and how they continue to serve our country's economy. They are pretty impressive. Lately, we've been most impressed with how loud their horns can sound from a mile away. And, I am impressed with how cautious the drivers engineers are when approaching a crossing. Of course, we live a few hundred yards from two crossings, so we are often alerted to their presence in our community. Which is, at least, three times around midnight every night! Despite my sarcastic tone, I really do want them to blow their horns loud every time, so drivers can hear and take heed. 
   There have been many times in my life that I wish God was more like a locomotive engineer: you know, more deliberate at getting my attention. That is rarely God's way. The Bible includes a few instances of God taking the loud approach - Noah and the flood, Pharaoh and the plagues, Daniel walking from the lion's den, or Paul on the Damascus road. Generally speaking, hearing from God is more like the experience of Elijah in the wilderness. The story from 1 Kings 19 begins with Elijah fleeing for his life from the evil Jezebel. He ends up on a mountain and is told to listen for God speaking. It says:

"Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces 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 sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him..."

The voice was in the silence. This is how God often speaks to us, still today: when we turn down the noise of the world and are silent ourselves. 
   I want to hear from God, not just as a pastor, but also as a husband, parent, and friend. Sometimes it is because the train is bearing down and I'm in harm's way. Mostly, it is because God's voice reminds me of who I am: a child of the King. 
   Join me this week in taking an extra ten minutes every morning to sit quietly in order that God might speak. Grace and peace, Scott

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