I called my parents as I drove to a friend’s house for our weekly Bible Study. I only had about 8 minutes if I drove the speed limit down the windy road, but I missed them and knew those 8 minutes would be well-worth it. We try to connect every week at some point, even if it’s a simple text or photo shared between them, myself and my older brother. There’s something incredibly comforting about hearing their voices. They are calm, assuring, loving, and sometimes sporadic depending on what television show they’re tuned in to, or if they’re mucking stalls while trying to have focused dialogue.
In echo of most kids going through their life, I didn’t value their voices as much as I was either a nervous child awaiting discipline, or irritated by rules like curfew, through my teenage years. I’d deny them and defy them too many times, as my dear mother can attest to. Oh bless parents everywhere for enduring teenage years. But I am now approaching 34 and crave these voices. If they don’t answer their home line, I try each of their cell phones at least twice before sending a text, after I’ve already left multiple voicemails on multiple answering machines. Bless them for putting up with this needy, adult version of myself.
During the years between high school graduation and marrying Eric, my time spent living in their home was brief. There were two seasons. One was after the first semester of my sophomore year at San Jose State University. I wasn’t making great choices in relationships or academics, which resulted in an immediate, and somewhat forced pause. I spent that semester at home, avoiding their voices and trying my best to handle it by working a mall job and applying to whatever could be next. After my undergraduate graduation, I again found myself in my old bedroom while I looked for a job and began a Master’s program. At this point I wasn’t so much avoiding their voices as I thought mine was much greater than their’s because I had just graduated from college and knew everything about this life.
Aren’t they the cutest?!
Some short time later, Eric and I were married and I moved away again. This time it was very permanent. And though the distance between us now is a fraction of what it was while I completed college in San Diego, it seems harder somehow, especially now being a mother to daughters and needing more of my mom’s voice. I feel incredibly fortunate to have them speak value and blessings, and sometimes hard-to-swallow reminders of humility and truth into my life. So that night, on my way to Bible Study, I drove the speed limit and settled in to my mom-van leather seats as those voices accompanied me along.
Do you ever wonder what the voice of God sounds like? I like to think about what it was like for Adam and Eve in those first primal moments of walking with the Lord and hearing His voice. They were the firstborns of humanity, made in the likeness of their Father, and blessed with dominion and choice and fertility. They knew no other voice. No other sound of power or authority except for His. Was it comforting or terrifying? Both? Neither?
What was it like for Moses, as the Lord instructed him to carry out a new covenant for the Israelites? He threw ox blood on them after reading what the Lord had commanded. Could you imagine the shear authoritative power from that voice and have the mere gumption and obedient heart to carry that out?
How about when Elijah was responsible for the death of 450 prophets who worshiped Baal as a god? He was jealous for the Lord and rampaged, but soon after fled in fear of his own life being taken. On his runaway journey into the wilderness, he found himself on Mount Horeb in Egypt. There he witnessed mountain-shattering winds, an earthquake and a fire, but the voice of the Lord was in the whisper of calm. Elijah was told to return and was given purpose in his journey. Was that the response Elijah was expecting? Is that what you would expect? A whisper amidst indestructible force?
During my final undergrad year in San Diego, I took an Old Testament class. I think everyone at that school was required to take both Old and New Testament as a graduation requirement. Anyway, I did not love that class while I was in it. I found it so, incredibly depressing reading through the stories of war and famine and repetitive disobedience. Every class, I’d roll my eyes and think, “When will they get it? Come on people! Figure it out!”. Obviously I’m as humble as they come. As an older adult, and mother of three very strong girls, I find comfort in the very present voice of the Lord throughout the Old Testament books. He was constant and provided shelter, confidence, dominion and provision. He led with discipline and power and extraordinary grace. These Old Testament stories gave me a huge push towards the “I’ll Go First” series. I can so easily identify with Eve for conversing with the serpent and eating the fruit, even though she was told not to. It was the only tree in this garden of paradise she was advised against. Of course she’d eat of it. And there lies the beginning of strong-willed, truth-abandoning, know-it-all thinking. Easily, I forget to sit and listen to the voice of our Maker as He provides a calm when all I see or feel is chaos.
In case you’re like me and often forget just how powerful and grace-filled the Voice of our Lord and our Maker is, here are three simple prayers I am praying this week as a reminder. Won’t you join me?
- Quiet my mind to listen to Your word.
- Make me aware of Your steadfast power.
- Bind my heart to the promises of Your truth.
*****OT story references: Adam & Eve (Genesis 1-2); Moses (Exodus 24); Elijah (1 Kings 18-19)*****