Listening for the Whisper

05.21.20 | Story | by Chris Jones

Listening for the Whisper

    Are you a good listener? (I wonder if anyone ever replies “no” to this question.) The Bible talks about “having ears to hear.” While that phrase may sound strange, it holds deep truth. The fact is, our ears do not always hear what they should.   

    Over the years, many of us become increasingly “hard of hearing.” Numerous things can cause this loss, but often it’s due to repeated exposure to excessive sound levels. This physical reality is also true spiritually. The excessive busyness, distractions and “noise” of life can dull our spiritual hearing. If you feel hard of hearing these days, consider these two suggestions:

    1. Reduce or eliminate extraneous noises and distractions.
    2. Discipline your ears to listen with focus.

    Covid–19 hit many of us hard with unforeseen consequences. One of those consequences I call the “Quiet of the Plague” and some have called the “Great Pause.” As people became restricted to their homes, the outside noise and busyness of life that caused "hearing loss" has diminished. For a short time, we've been given a chance to hear in ways we could not before.

    By listening in the pause, we can become less hard of hearing.

    We're not the first to experience this lesson. The prophet Elijah went through a similar process. After ministering through the noise of difficulties, threats and loss, God called Elijah to retreat in a quiet place. Even there, Elijah faced the noise of wind, earthquake and fire— but through all of that he heard the whisper of God.  

    The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:11-13

    Whether you find yourself in a quiet place like Elijah's cave with wind, earthquake and fire, or you're at home with the noises of family, work and homeschooling—we all need to listen past those distractions to hear the whisper of God.

    Has the Great Pause trained you to hear the whisper of God more clearly? When the noises of everyday life return to our streets and workplaces, will we have learned to hear His whisper above all other voices?

    What wisdom has God whispered to you in the Great Pause? Will you bring it with you into your “normal” life? I am training my spiritual ears to listen now for God’s whisper, desiring that nothing drown out His voice. Can I encourage you to do the same?

    Together with you in the Great Pause.

    Chris Jones has been part of New Hope Church for many years and became Global Outreach Director in early 2020. Since 1985, he has served as a church planter, relief worker and amongst drug addicts and homeless alcoholics in Europe, Central Asia and the Far East. Chris also serves in various roles as a mission leader with other agencies. He loves to worship, cook, write, ride his Goldwing and appreciate good art and film. With his wife, Jo, and their three adult daughters he loves to ponder solving the world’s problems before bedtime and tries to ensure everyone has fun doing it.