On a recent Friday morning, in the darkness of the before school hours, I sink with a huff down into my favorite green paisley chair in our office. Our puppy stares at me with curious eyes and cocks her head. The house is silent, but still my soul feels it… noise, thoughts and feelings and worries clamoring for attention, a to do list waving a flag of importance.
I close my eyes and the words of The Belonging Co’s song wash through my mind, “Peace be still, say the words and I will…” I breathe this chorus as a prayer. “Peace be still, you are here so it is well…”
My mind wanders to all the times lately I’ve noticed the noise around me. I switch off the TV at night with low-level exasperation at the background noise. I linger a moment in the quiet car after everyone else has gotten out. I jump at the sound of a car racing down our street. I roll my eyes at the often-present AirPod in the ear of my son as he works on homework.
Outside sound isn’t the only culprit, though. I choose to purposefully turn my ear to the noise often, too. I flip on a podcast or an audio book when I fold laundry. My son and I add a musical soundtrack to every drive via his latest Spotify playlist.
In the midst of all this though, I acknowledge, compared to the world outside, my home is relatively quiet.
But, do I allow it to be quiet enough to hear God’s whispers, to feel His peace?
My mind turns to the story of Elijah, the Old Testament prophet. Jezebel’s powerful, hateful voice had consumed his thoughts. So, Elijah ran – into the wilderness, for 40 days, until he reached Mount Horeb.
There, the Lord promised to pass by. God was not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire. He was in the whisper, the still, small voice (1 Kings 19). God CAN be in the fire - He was the burning bush speaking to Moses in Exodus 3. God CAN be in the storm – He spoke to Job as a whirlwind in Job 38.
But, here He was with Elijah as a whisper.
I ask myself, “Am I, right now, in this season of my life quiet enough to hear this whisper?”
The story continues in 1 Kings 19, God sends Elijah back with instructions to anoint three people. God has appointed them for specific purposes. Elijah is faced with a choice – stay in the cave away from Jezebel and her threat, or follow the instructions within the Whisper to anoint his successor and two new kings.
In our noisy and full lives - with music and podcasts and influencers and app notifications and email reminders of our last chance to save a certain percent – it can be difficult to listen to the mighty voice that connects and steadies our step, to God’s whisper. It’s a moment-by-moment choice.
So, in this before school moment, I lean in to listen closely to that Whisper.
Psalm 46 reminds me, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging… He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
My phone begins to buzz. A reminder of what is next on the agenda for the day, but before I hop up to walk out the door for work, I pause to whisper another prayer. Lord, I choose to find moments of stillness to listen for your Whisper.
That evening, as I flip off the bedside lamp to end the day, I listen again to the stillness that’s fallen over our house. The whir of a fan, the snore of our puppy, the tick of the clock in the room next to ours.
Was the day filled completely with silent contemplation? No, it was full of meetings and conversations and places to be. But the end of the day felt different. I consciously considered quiet and chose to turn off the noise a moment at a time. And I’m already thinking about ways to be still and know that He is God again tomorrow.
What noise has filled your ears lately? Is there a way for you to find Stillness in His Refuge today?