The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, January 6, 2023, was written by Patricia Kinner Kelly of Florida
11 He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces 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; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 14 He answered, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away." 15 Then the Lord said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him."
1 Kings 19:11-18 NRSV
CAN YOU HEAR IT?
I enjoy eating yogurt in the morning. My cat, Cali, also loves yogurt, but she is often curled in a sunspot in another part of the house when I am ready to eat. No matter where she is, she comes running whenever she hears the small sound of my peeling back the cover of the yogurt. Over the years I have wondered how to hear God’s voice and call in my life. I tune into God’s loving presence by reading the Bible and The Upper Room, journaling, spending time in community with my church family, talking and sharing with friends, and praying. And Cali’s response to my small sound each morning makes me realize that when I pay attention I can “hear” God’s voice.
I hear God in a Bible verse or a devotion that resonates, or a journal entry that reveals a hidden truth. God’s voice is in a phrase from a sermon that stays in my heart and in conversations that suddenly create a deeper spiritual connection to God. When I am in prayer or even just silent and listening, I hear the still small voice of God. And if I respond to God’s voice, I know good things are waiting for me.
Patricia’s reflection articulates a common question for people of faith: How can I God’s voice? The cited scripture is one of my favorites, because it reminds me that to hear God speaking requires me to ignore the powerful winds of worry, the earthquakes of adversity that shake me, and the fires of negativity that rage around me. Hearing God’s voice requires me to be intentional, disciplined, and still; prioritizing a dedicate time and space to commune with God.
When I consistently set aside quiet time with God, to attune my ears, heart, and mind to how God speaks to me, I’m able to distinguish God’s voice when the loud noises and distractions of life attempt to drown it out. I invite you to prioritize creating a daily dedicated time and space to commune with God, so that you, like Patricia, might attune you ears, heart, and mind to: “hear God in a Bible verse, a devotion that resonates, a journal entry that reveals a hidden truth, a phrase from a sermon that stays in my heart, and in conversations that suddenly create a deeper spiritual connection to God.”
Dear God, your voice is everywhere and in everything. Help us to listen carefully and respond faithfully. Amen
-- Patricia Kinner Kelly