Remember that game of “Telephone” we used to play as kids? We would always get a kick out of the difference between the starting phrase and the ending phrase. The message was whispered across the line, and for some reason, the final person never said what the first person did. I guess he was just too far away from the source.
I always wanted to be closest to the beginning. That way I could be certain I heard the unadulterated message. I remember the first person whispering in my ear, “Here’s my heart.”
I passed it along, wondering what the last person would say. Ten kids later, the new message appeared: “Tears may start!”
That’s not what I heard.
I learned something today about God. He never shouts at his children. He always whispers. Elijah learned this in his encounter with God in the desert (1 Kings 19.9-18). Elijah was at a low point in his life here, but through it all, he still drew close enough to God to hear the whisper.
We often look for clear signs from God. Something blatant. We’re waiting for God to yell at us. He’s not going to. A “clear sign” from God comes only when we’re close enough to discern the message in his whisper. When we’re that close to God, a whisper is all we need.
I had a choir director in college say, “This part of the song is almost a whisper. If they can’t get the message, the audience needs to listen louder.”
I wonder if I’m close enough to hear his whisper. There’s really no litmus test, per se. But a good way to tell is the amount of time I’m spending in his word. I figure if I can’t get enough of it, his lips are probably right up against my ear.
Too often we’re so far away from God that the message we receive from him is distorted by all the barriers between. Just like in “Telephone,” all the obstacles between us and God change his message just enough to give us something that doesn’t even remotely resemble what God originally said. But God isn’t going to speak any louder to us.
Maybe we just need to “listen louder.” The volume of God’s voice is never going to change. We just need to turn the volume up on our listening.
Or get closer to him. That way we’ll figure out what he wants when he says, “Here’s my heart.”