Today we are surrounded by wilderness. Everywhere we look the wilderness of modern Life is in our face. Our modern wilderness is convenience, stuff, politics, or job. We need more faster, and when it comes to stopping we don’t know how. How can we hear the voice crying out in the wilderness if that voice isn’t yelling at us?
In the Bible, St John the Baptist identifies himself as the one crying out. He is recognized by Christians as the fulfillment of a prophecy in Isiah 40. The leaders of the day went out to him to ask who he was and what he was doing. John baptized miles away from the cities. Word traveled fast even without the internet and the leaders found out about him and sought him out.
A Quiet Voice
Many of us are missing something, at least I am. Even with all our conveniences, we’re missing something deep within us. I don’t believe we need someone to proclaim to us where the voice is coming from. That voice crying out is within us, not out there. We hear reminders everywhere. In the background, we can hear this still small voice if we are willing to listen. This voice can be heard in many ways. The voice of a friend, the cry of a child, or seen in the eyes of a stranger. It may seem distant at first but the more we listen the better we hear it
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you probably know I spent 15 years either trying to be a pastor or as a pastor. My biggest fault was that being the pastor was my goal, not serving Christ. Instead of spending my time listening to Him, I spent time listening to leadership Cd’s and reading books on how to improve the church experience. I was as lost as the people I thought I was trying to save. I burned myself out.
What I had was a secondhand God. I knew of God, but I didn’t know God and I couldn’t hear that voice crying out to me, from within me.
Hearing The Voice
Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls outPrologue Rule Nine of The Rule of St Benedict
thischarge: “If you hear God’s voice today, do not harden your hearts.”
Most of us are just busy in our wilderness, but some of us are busy because when we stop, a different voice kicks in. If we are just busy we can begin to take a couple of minutes each day and pray for guidance. When we pray, we need to be ready to listen for just a minute at first. Adding a three-minute pause in the morning, at noon, and at night can really begin to open us up to God’s voice.
If when you stop, the voice of guilt or shame kicks in, I suffered from this, you need to realize something. Many of us suffer from guilt and shame that blocks our ability to share life with God. We couldn’t hear a voice crying out within us if it had a bullhorn. We’ve done some bad stuff or we’ve been told that we’ve done some bad stuff. So we go through life wishing God would clean us up all the while blocking him out by not opening ourselves up to him.
“You are not a bad person, you’re a good person who has done bad things.” That was one of the most healing things I had ever heard. The second was, “I am a child of God and He loves me.” I repeat that at some point in time each day.
Once you start to tackle the wilderness of guilt and shame, the rest is easy. You can start the process I outlined above. Just rest in God and listen to his voice because He wants all of your being, good and bad.