I have a friend who describes herself as having a big voice. When she wants her son to come inside, she opens the front door and shouts his name. Because he always hears her, and comes home, she pictures a group of children, blocks away, saying, “Oooo. You better go home. Your mother wants you.”
God calls us by name. Although He can speak in the thunder (Exodus 20:18-19) or with the voice of the archangel (1 Thessalonians 4:16), the call is just as likely not to be in the earthquake nor in the wind, but in the still small voice, a dream, the Word of the Lord (1 Kings 19:11-13; Matthew 1:20-25).
When we are quiet, and we intentionally deafen the noise that surrounds us, God’s voice in the stillness speaks clearly to the heart and mind. The Bible calls this act meditation and prayer. The noises of worry, pride, business, or being spiritually dead make it difficult to hear the voice, but even the dead can hear the call of God. Lazarus, come out! (John 11:43). When we are quiet, God’s whisper is Jesus’ loud voice.
God calls us to listen, with a hearing that leads to action (James 1:22-27). God calls us to be teleios: mature, complete, holy, perfect (Matthew 5:48). A psychologist would call this being fully actualized; God calls it being fully human. The bumper sticker that says, “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven” is not entirely correct. We not just forgiven. God calls us to be changed (2 Corinthians 5:17). And, at some time, God calls us home.
A SNL skit once portrayed a woman who could not do anything until she asked Jesus first. “Jesus, should I make peanut-butter and jelly or bologna for my children?” Jesus finally appears her, and tells her to make a choice. Being bi-vocational, I do not want to be like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton; men who have Reverend in front of their names, but do not have a church nor preach the gospel. I am called to more than politics, we all are. God makes a genuine call to all to know the Truth and be forgiven (1 Timothy 2:3-6). Those who answer God’s call, are then called to more than being a Christian in name only (1 Peter 2:9). I agree that the fictional SNL woman prayed to an extreme, but better that, than to rarely, only in crisis, or never listen, or choose to obey, God’s call. Where should I work? Whom should I marry? Where should I live? How should I vote? How should I respond? Should I speak, or just listen? Jesus does not merely stand at the door and knock, God is calling (Revelation 3:20).
From “I Will Listen” by Charlie Peacock on West Coast Diaries Volume 1
I will listen
With my ears wide open
My mind alive
My eyes on you