Some years ago, at a Day of Recollection for my high school students, the priest who was speaking held up a portable radio. He turned it on, tuned it into a channel, and it played some music. Then he turned it off. No music played. Yet, he pointed out that the same sound waves were still passing through the airways. Even when we were not tuned into them and the radio was off, the sound waves were still out there waiting for us to listen to them.
A good lesson is here for all of us. God tries to speak to us constantly whether we are listening to Him or not. He is always out there whether or not we are tuned into Him.
How do we listen to God?
First of all we have to learn to be quiet for at least some time each day. Turn off the TV, iPod, computer, cell phone, Blackberry, etc. These may all be useful or entertaining for us but ultimately they distract us when trying to listen to God. Consider the following passage from Sacred Scripture:
Then the LORD said, "Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by." A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing 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 there was fire--but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Next we have to learn to be patient and to wait for the Lord. We live in a time of instant everything. We use microwave ovens, the internet takes us around the world in what seems like nanoseconds, most of us are seen walking around with cell phones connected as an added appendage to our bodies so that we can talk to or text someone whenever we want. Get the picture? We don’t like to wait and we have very little patience when we don’t get what we want immediately.
God doesn’t work that way. He is not at our beck and call and He doesn’t have to react to us just because we have decided to fit Him into our lives at some particular point in time. People joke about how slow the Church moves and reacts because she thinks in centuries. What about God who has been around for all eternity? Time for God is not the same as time for us. God is not bound by time. We are.
So find some time each day to stop, be quiet, and listen. We don’t have to do all the talking. If we are patient, God will speak to us in our thoughts and imagination. He will move our hearts. He’s there waiting for us.
Tune Him in.
Fr. Ed Namiotka