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Just dropping by ... His still small voice

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 06 October 2021

Many years ago, I traveled to Chicago. I had been living in a city where the traffic was routed away from the residential area and the noise level was the occasional dull roar of passing cars and the laughter of children playing along the streets.

The streets were wide and lined with trees and foliage. It was an extension of the country lifestyle I had grown up with.

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When I stepped off the plane in Chicago, I was unprepared for the shock. I could feel the furious energy of the crowds moving like millions of ants around the terminal. I thought it was merely the hyped-up scurry of the airport, but as I walked into the street and boarded a taxi to my destination, I could feel the pulse of the city surging around me. Cars filled the streets with the buzz of motors, the shriek of horns and the screams of distant sirens. Faces of people in the cars were blurs as they zoomed past. On the sidewalk, pedestrians neither looked to the right nor to the left but moved with breakneck robotic purpose having inner compasses locked on their destinations.

I felt my adrenalin level and my heart rate rise to meet the demands of the madding pace. I found myself walking faster and faster as I moved into the hotel where I was to spend the next three days. Even when I sat down to rest, I could feel the world like a roaring hurricane around me.

Gradually I became accustomed to the pace and enjoyed my stay, but I was keenly aware of the quiet peace of the pace of my home when I returned.

I have frequently wondered at that experience and have thought, with compassion, of the people who are locked in that lifestyle. It doesn’t seem strange that people who live at such a pace are plagued with strokes, heart attacks, hyper stress, nervous breakdowns and mental illnesses. It doesn’t surprise me that crime is at an all-time high. No one has time or space to get away from the noise and clutter of a hyped-up treadmill existence, let alone to think about God and the purpose of life.

I grew up on a ranch in the forest. I often spent time walking and pondering the beauties of nature. I could hear the crunch of needles under my feet and smell the fresh scent of pines. The stillness was soothing, and I could hear the whisper of the Spirit helping me sort out the complexities of my life. I long for that silence of nature as my world has become more like the madding rush of Chicago.

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Elijah’s experience in 1 Kings 19:11-12 suddenly becomes relevant to our modern day.

And he [God] said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

The voice of the Lord is a still small voice. How can the modern world hear such a voice? Not only is His voice soft, but it doesn’t come to those who are not seeking it in reverence and humility, and it certainly doesn’t happen in the maddening rush of a world filled with the shrieks and clamor of everyday life.

Stereos blare with songs of found loves and lost loves. Radios rattle on with the negative news and of rumors of wars. Smartphones click from one piece of eye candy or useless information to the next in broken conversations, pictures, music and advertisements. Facebook and Twitter fill the space between appointments and real conversations with real people. There is little time for quiet reflection about what is happening to the soul. There is little time to listen to the still, small voice. Has the world forgotten what reverence means?

When I was a child, I thought reverence was folded arms and a quiet finger raised to the lips to signal that a meeting was about to begin, but I have learned over the years that reverence is a quiet, humble feeling of love and gratitude that fills your soul when you think about the world from God’s perspective.

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Reverence is the feeling you get when a newborn infant wraps his or her tiny fingers around yours to let you know that he or she has come through trailing clouds of heavenly light to bless your home with God’s love and to remind you that every life is precious and dear to a Father in Heaven.

Reverence fills your soul with awesome wonder as you gaze in silence at the night sky ablaze with glory, and you know you are only a finite speck of dust on the timeline of eternity; yet God, the creator of all things, hears your softest heartfelt prayer and loves you personally.

Reverence is watching the splash of silver raindrops transform a dry and thirsty land into an Eden, knowing that all nature bows to the King of Glory, and nothing goes unnoticed under the hand of God.

Reverence is seeing the Star-Spangled Banner draped over a casket, hearing taps rend the air with sorrow and recognizing that a soldier lying cold in the casket wanted to live yet died for you. Reverence is touching the silent cold of the stone left as a monument to the debt you can never repay.

Reverence is looking at the callused and broken knuckles of your daddy’s hands and the deep, irreparable furrows in your mother’s brow and realizing your parents never ask for anything but love in return for the years they gave you, and the only way you will ever repay them is to live as a holy example of the principles they taught.

Reverence is listening to the glorious strains of “How Great Thou Art” as you kneel in snow by the grave of your child and realize pioneer mothers lost little ones and had no warm pillows to cradle their tears.

Reverence is standing in a blinding snowstorm with the wind lashing out in fury realizing the pilgrims did not have cars with heaters or houses with multi-inch-thick carpet and central heating when they paved the way for the American dream.

Reverence is remembering men of honor who stood shoulder to shoulder down the ages of history shielding our future from the bullets that would have destroyed the Constitution and freedom of our land.

Finally, reverence is the all-consuming feeling that comes when you realize that the scarlet drops on Calvary are your never-ending senseless sins that one day, Christ, through his sacrifice, will make white as snow.

In the rush of our modern society, we seldom feel that kind of reverence. We think we are too busy to be reverent and ponder. We are too busy to say a prayer that is more than just a grocery list of I-wants and I-think-I-needs. We are too busy to stop and listen to the silence behind the noise. I wonder what we sacrifice as we fail to hear the voice of God whisper to our souls.

If you are quiet, you will hear His voice in the voice of a child’s first prayer. If you seek to be reverent, you will hear His voice in your own as you express gratitude for the glorious blessing of another year of life. You will hear it when you pray for a stranger who lifts a cup on the street corner. You will feel it pierce your soul with compassion when you fill that cup with your contribution. You will hear it as you realize that even in your worst circumstance you will never come close to the circumstances of those who gave their lives to frame the freedom and lifestyle we now take for granted. You will hear it as you say, “I love you,” to your family and friends. You will see His reflection in their eyes and know God is not found in the noise of life, only in the reverence and silence of the still, small voice of His love. end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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