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Listening to our enemies

By Nathan Decker

I like rumors! I find out so much about me that I didn’t even know.”

Anonymous

If the rumors are to be believed, none of our leaders have represented us. The Clintons were owned by China, Bush owed money to the oil companies, Obama was allied with terrorists, and Russia has something on Trump. And now we even have bots on social media to spread such rumors faster! Rumors reveal more about the person spreading them than they do about the person they are supposedly speaking truth. We have to be careful to what we take to heart.

We have to be careful who we’re letting speak to our heart. There are so many voices that want to speak to us. Nostalgia wants us to believe that we’ll never be as good as we once were. Self-doubt whispers, “You really think you’re worthy?” And at the same time ego yells, “I’m the biggest, I’m the greatest, I’m the king of the world.” And depression sits in the recliner and flips through the channels because, “Life has no meaning.”

Addiction offers us, “Just one more, and that’ll be the last.” Fear tells us we aren’t prepared while paranoia reminds us everyone is out to get us. Our pride says, “We’re in control,” at the same time as our anxiety pushes the red button and yells, “We’re out of control!” Our heart can go in so many directions. Let’s face it, our heart often goes in multiple directions simultaneously because we are listening to the voices of our enemies.

In the story of the prophet Elijah, God shows up in a small voice. I believe that voice is in each of our hearts. It is the voice of change and transformation. It is the voice of hope. The voice speaks love, faith, and courage. God’s voice is one filled with uplifting grace and accountability to keep our feet in place. It is the voice of comfort. It is the voice of life. But it is a still, small voice.

God’s voice won’t overwhelm the constant noise of our day to day lives. Our own desire to be heard often mutes the Lord’s love. Our own nervousness with stillness or silence or solitude turns up the volume of busy-ness, constant contact and distraction. And when life deals us with a blow that makes us catch our breath … that’s when the voices of our enemies try to continue to drown out the Lord’s through rumors about ourselves.

Jesus practiced prayer. Jesus took time to get away and contemplate. Jesus spent time in the quiet. We all could benefit from hearing the gentle whisper of God.

Walt Kelly quipped, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” When we take to heart the rumors and voices of our enemies, we become our own enemy. When we take time to find ourselves in the quiet, we encounter so much more. We meet Jesus. We hear God’s voice. We enter into a time of prayer. The world around us is swirling with rumors, make sure your taking time to find stillness and listen to God’s voice. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

Then Elijah was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.”

-1 Kings 11-12