Why was our dog shaking so badly under my desk? That’s a safe place. Mo likes to be close to me, and I was working at my desk.
Then I remembered the day our smoke alarm went off. Its shrill sound so frightened Mo, he ran out of our garage and all around our neighborhood. It took a long, scary time to corral him and get him calmed down. (Read about that day in my August 13, 2016, post.)
My computer tower is next to my desk, less than two feet from where Mo was sitting . . . and trembling. Dogs hear some high-pitched sounds we do not hear. I became convinced Mo was hearing a high-pitched sound from my computer that I could not hear.
This turned into another spiritual lesson I learned from my dog. There are sounds some people hear but others do not. Those sounds sometimes bring us joy and sometimes cause fear in us, as that mystery sound did for Mo.
These sounds of joy or fear do not always go unheard because they are beyond the frequency of our hearing. We may not hear them because we are unaware there are spiritual sounds, or we are deaf to them. The fact that God would want to communicate with us might have never crossed our minds.
I’m not suggesting we listen for actual voices. There are real communications that are not literal. God is continually speaking sounds of hope, peace, joy and love, but God often speaks in whispers; I have experienced them as distinct impressions. I’ve heard these sounds so many times. They are sounds that, when perceived, let us inhale grace. If we take them to heart, we will exhale gratitude.
There is a fascinating account of Elijah’s life recorded in the Old Testament Book of 1 Kings. Elijah is discouraged, defeated, feeling alone, thinking his life might as well be over. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah. It doesn’t say how Elijah heard that word, only that he heard it.
What did Elijah hear? “‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1Kings 19:11-12)
In that gentle whisper, God spoke to Elijah. Others might not have heard what Elijah heard, much as I did not hear what frightened our dog heard under my desk. Too often, I have not heard God’s whisper because I was distracted by the noise around me.
On the first Christmas, most people who had come to Bethlehem to pay their taxes did not hear what happened on that eventful night. The God of the universe had come to that little town, but Jesus entered quietly. Shepherds tending their sheep in the fields heard about it, but many others did not. Lowly, despised-by-many, shepherds were tuned to angel sounds and heard the good news.
How many times have we missed a sound of hope, guidance, encouragement or joy because we were unaware that God communicates, and we weren’t paying attention? Instead, we have heard the negative noise and been discouraged and felt hopeless?
For what or to whom are you listening?
Do you hear what I hear?