One day while riding in the car with my teenage daughter, I was trying to listen to a football game on the radio. The signal kept fading in and out, and the announcers' voices were covered with unpleasant static. She finally asked, "Dad, how can you understand what is going on with all the static? Why don't you just change the station?"
Sometimes in the midst of our busy days, it is difficult to hear God's voice.
We have a tendency to fill our lives with noise. Often all we hear is static and too much interference from other "frequencies." But as with a car radio, we need to "stay tuned" and learn how to receive a word from God at any moment.
A lady from Oklahoma named Ruth had an important decision to make. Her income as a substitute teacher was not enough for her to afford living in the apartment she had been renting for a year. Ruth realized that she really did not want to leave her apartment and began searching for a job that would provide enough income so she would not have to move. She considered taking a live-in job caring for an elderly woman, but the family had not decided whether to hire her. Time became short, and she was in a panic.
One day as Ruth was reading her Bible, she came to Psalm 46. In verse 8 the psalmist recalls the day when the fields surrounding Jerusalem were covered with dead Assyrian soldiers, their weapons and equipment scattered and broken. There had been no battle, but the angel of the Lord had left this evidence behind to encourage the faith of the people:
Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
The Lord had defeated Judah's enemies and destroyed their weapons. They could attack no more.
Then in verse 10, the psalmist writes, "Be still, and know that I am God." God spoke to Ruth, "Be still! Take your hands off! Relax! I am still in control!"
That is not easy for most of us to do. We are hands-on people. We like to call the shots, make the decisions, and manage our own lives. In contrast, in Psalm 46 when King Hezekiah allowed God to be God, He delivered the people of Judah from their enemies.
It was at that moment that Ruth realized she had been trusting more in her own wisdom and in others' thoughts and opinions than she had in God. She was acting as if He had been taken by surprise with her situation and might not know what to do. She saw that it was time to calm down, be still, and listen for God to speak. And that was exactly what she did. She learned to wait on the Lord. "By waiting to listen for God's voice," she says, "I was, and am, learning to be calmer, even in the midst of a storm."
There is a time to obey God and act, but there are also times when we need to be quiet and still. We need to hear God speak and give us His direction, insights, and thoughts. In the midst of the uncertainties of life, God will speak if we will listen.
Lord, give me ears to hear Your voice and eyes to see You working in my life. I have stilled and quieted my heart, and I desire to hear You speaking to me throughout this day. Speak Lord, I am listening!
David W. Graves is a General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene.
Holiness Today, September/October 2010