Our God, the Creator, filled the earth with sounds for people to hear, to contemplate with their hearts, but many of His sounds have since drowned, swallowed up by manmade cacophony. When was the last time that you sat in silence and listened?
When I asked myself that question, several memories came to mind.
One hot, summer afternoon, I sat outside at my patio table, writing, when I heard what sounded like a kid playing with a very loud slide whistle. I stopped and listened. What was that? I heard it repeat several times, then nothing. The next day, I heard it again. Finally, my wondering led me to follow that sound. Where did it take me? To the zoo about a half mile away and the gibbons cage! Yes, gibbons—those cute little monkeys that hang around rainforests. I stood watching them swing and whistle, and I marveled at how God had given them a voice that could be heard for such a distance. I suppose the gibbons had been there all along,whistling, but my heart hadn’t been quiet enough to hear them.
And then I remembered the great-horned owls, the pair of them that spent the night in my backyard. I had almost missed them singing, the female in her low bass tone and the male, a tenor. If I hadn’t turned off the television and sat silently that evening, I might not have heard them. Their song came soft in the night, soothing any heart that listened.
When I contemplate silent listening, I think of the sounds of trains. I sometimes hear them late at night when I am trying to fall asleep. I hear their horns in the distance, two long blasts followed by a short and another long. They come closer, and I hear the clickity-clack of their wheels on the tracks. I listen until they disappear into the darkness.
We miss so much when we don’t stop and listen. Those sounds that travel from our ears to our hearts are God-speak sounds. . Some of what we hear might confuse us. Some of it might bring comfort or hint at an unknown destination. Like the gibbons, God’s voice travels across the miles turning confusion to clarity. Like the owls, He speaks softly in the darkness. Like the sounds of trains, His voice leads us out of the wilderness and toward an unknown, God-driven, destination.
When was the last time that you sat in silence and listened? Try it today; right now. You just might hear the voice of God.
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