It’s been difficult to hear God’s voice lately. I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. Maybe even a little bit confused if I’m totally honest. You see, I’m graduating with my master’s degree at a top Christian college. I read my Bible on my spare time and for homework. I’m hoping to go into full-time ministry. On paper, I qualify as a super-Christian and yet I can’t seem to hear God’s voice.
How come God’s voice isn’t obvious and clear like it’s been in past seasons? How come when I pray, I’m oftentimes left with moments of silence where God’s voice used to be?
There was a season in my life when God’s voice would be the constant soundtrack of my day. It was so… loud. I’d wake up and He’d speak. I’d drive to work and He’d talk. I’d sit around and He’d crack jokes. I’d go to bed and He’d have the last word. I remember people would ask me during that time, “How do you know God is speaking?” And my only thought would be, “How do you not? He’s so chatty!”
But now I get it. God hasn’t been loud and chatty with me. Don’t get me wrong, He hasn’t been absent. But it’s almost as if someone cranked down the volume of His voice from blast to a quiet whisper. The kind of whisper that requires you to read someone’s lips too because of how inaudible his or her voice is.
Story time: I was really frustrated the other morning. During a time of prayer, I wanted to hear from God about a few things. Not to my surprise, I was left sitting there (again) with nothing but a long moment of silence. So I finally cried out in frustration, “God, why are You sooooo quiet?!”
And in the softest whisper, I heard the Lord say to me, “Maila, the closer I am to you, the quieter My voice can be.”
In that moment, God showed me a picture of His nearness. He wasn’t far away shouting to get my attention. Actually, He wasn’t loud because He wasn’t trying to compete with the voices of graduation, of ministry, and of school. Instead, God had been right next to me the entire time.
Nearness is the only distance that makes sense for someone to whisper. No one whispers unless the person they want to talk to is close.
Think about it; what do you do when someone whispers? You lean in closer. I was so quick to perceive God’s quietness as His distance that I didn’t realize His choice to whisper was an intentional way to beckon me to lean in. To enter into an intimate space with Him — away from the loud voices. And to constantly position myself as close to Him as possible.
I realized that when God’s voice is quiet, it’s not because He’s far away but because He is so near. And that is good news.
If you’re struggling to hear God in this season of your life, if He’s not loud and clear, then listen closely, search attentively, and wait expectantly. Take it from someone who’s in the midst of that kind of season: When God whispers, He is inviting you to lean in and enter into a place of deeper intimacy with Him.
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