Listen for the Voice

By  Marcy Barthelette

The Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain … but the Lord was not in the wind … there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake … there was a fire, but the lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. I Kings 19:11-12   

 I sometimes think the most often heard word in our home is “What?” And why is this? Well, you see, I often forget to apply the suggestions I was given when Ken got hearing aids for the first time. The audiologist spent as much time instructing me in the art of being understood by a person with hearing deficit as he did in instructing Ken about the use and care of his new hearing device.

If possible, it’s helpful to get the attention of the hearing impaired person before speaking. Obviously, when in a different room, this step is difficult and, as you might suspect, speaking from another room is also ill-advised. Moving on, if in close proximity, tap the person lightly to let them know you wish to speak. Look in their direction when speaking and speak distinctly. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Believe me, it isn’t. Even though I know the rules, I speak first and think later, often leading to frustration on both our parts. And, of course, as we age, more and more of our contemporaries will experience hearing loss to varying degrees and we’ll need to apply our skills even more often.

I suppose the best way to approach any person with whom we wish to speak, those with excellent hearing and those who experience difficulty, is to remember those few simple rules, execute them, and then they would become instinctual. Conversation would become more natural and fluid. The problem is that our brains are set to a different approach, one taught to us all our lives. Work hard and talk fast to get to the top. Maybe arriving at the top of the hill is less important than the journey. Perhaps we should consider the joy of relationships and relish learning more about each other. I think we’re missing the whisper among the cacophony around us.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Sometimes God speaks in a whisper and other times, he whacks us with a sledgehammer, metaphorically speaking, of course. A case in point is our almost fifteen-year-old grandson, the one who has grown up with a baseball in his hand. From the time he was a tot playing T-ball, he has shown promise and, as such, has been groomed for “great things.” We all know the odds against anyone being good enough to “make it” in any sport are very long, even with a reasonable amount of talent. Quinn has always been good at his game, so good that he has played nearly year round for as long as I can remember and never sits on the bench. He can pitch fast, catch and control the field, he excels at shortstop, and is an excellent batter, not to mention base stealer. You get the message, he is sought after and has played hard.

Last year he experienced an injury to his arm and that injury seems to be haunting him now. He’s played aggressively through pain until it

 had to stop. So now, he’s only allowed to bat and run. All throwing has ceased for a period of weeks, at least. This was his year to begin high school ball and position himself for a college scholarship and now he’s mostly benched. I think this was a very hefty tap on the shoulder, a sledgehammer moment, intended to remind him that sometimes we have to listen to that quiet inner voice telling us to change the path we’re on.  I’m certainly not suggesting he shouldn’t play, but I think the mentality that we must play through all the pain is a little misguided. Sometimes, we just have to listen to the whisper and rest for a while. The name of Quinn’s team is GPS Legends. The GPS stands for God Provides Strength. Strength is acquired through hard work and knowing when to rest. It also comes through our faith walk, our relationship to God. Quinn’s in his resting period right now because he listened to the quiet voice, but he’ll be back when the time is right and only another sledgehammer moment will sit him back on the bench.

We all have our sledgehammer moments when the message is loud and clear. It’s much harder to discern that still small voice, the whisper; we must consciously shut out the other sounds in order to hear it.

Now, if I can just hear that voice telling me to think before I speak, perhaps I can develop closer relationships with the people around me. Maybe I can get through a day without complicating communication with my sweet husband and we’ll have more time for fun rather than frustration.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7

One Response to “Listen for the Voice”

  1. Linda Perkin says:

    Thank you Marcy, such good information, and advise I needed to hear.

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