I pulled a sweater over my shoulders and trembled when the thunder crashed with a majestic intensity that can only be described as something from a Thor movie. I do not like storms, and I was not particularly thrilled with this one – even before it rendered my house silent and dark. It was already dark outside, so opening the curtains did nothing to ease the heaviness of the darkness. I scrambled through my house, which suddenly seemed eerie and unfamiliar, in search of a flashlight. I found it but it would not come on. I reached for my phone to find the battery at less than 10 percent – useless. My dog, recognizing nothing better to do, climbed onto the bed and was asleep within seconds. I, on the other hand, was wide awake.
It was too dark to read. So, I finally climbed into bed and surrendered to the circumstances. But I still could not sleep. The silence brought anxious thoughts and I began to feel the all-too-common symptoms of a panic attack. The storm outside of my bedroom window was nothing compared to the storm raging inside my mind. To recap, it was too dark to read, there was no TV, and there was no phone. I was alone and terrified. So, I did what I have been taught to do – I prayed.
It was not the typical prayer of a woman who had her wits about her. It was the desperate pleading of a woman who needed God more than anything. It was almost hysterical. I prayed about theology I had been struggling to understand. I prayed about situations and circumstances. I asked questions with the intensity of Job (Job 7:17-21).
An amazing thing happened when I finally paused. I heard the “sound of a low whisper” (1Kings 19:12) – which to me is hard to explain. It is like a quiet but sure ‘knowing’ of the words – not necessarily audible but very much concrete. I am sure that other people hear Him differently, but this is how I hear God’s voice when I listen for it. I experienced this ‘knowing’ with every question I asked almost immediately. When I finally paused from my inquisition, I sighed and said in my heart, “Wow!” That’s when I heard the ‘knowing’ that responded casually with almost a hint of humor and a lot of compassion: “What? Did you expect me not to have the answers?” I smiled. I fell asleep peacefully and woke the next morning with my electricity back on. Thank you, JESUS!
I think sometimes that we are so accustomed to being overstimulated with distractions like our phones and our TVs that it becomes almost an addiction and we feel lost without them. Even our books and our work can distract us from truly seeking God. Our world is so loud that it will almost take fierce winds that tear through mountains, or earthquakes, or fire (1Kings 19:11-12) to hear God. We miss His voice because we look for it in the storm when all the storm was meant to do was direct us to Him.
On my own, I would not have put my phone down that night. I would have fallen asleep to the sound of the TV humming in the background. I am guilty of not seeking the Lord as I should. I am so grateful to serve a God that seeks me – the one sheep (Luke 15:3-7). I am so thankful that for a moment, He removed all the distractions that compete for my attention and focused my heart on Him. When there was nothing else and no one else, HE was there with me. He did not need to calm the storm that night. He needed only to calm me.