12 May Whispers
Recently I went for a run.
To be clear, I’m not a good runner. I typically log about a ten minute pace, with a good day inching closer to the 9:30 mark. That said, I can mostly go forever if time allows. Running, for me, is a chance to disconnect. It’s an opportunity to stop thinking or stressing about life’s day-to-day responsibilities and disappear for a while.
My running ritual starts with strapping up some Nikes, throwing on my head phones, and racing through the neighborhood next to mine; the one with the big, expensive houses and nice sidewalks.
Often I think about how cool it would be to live in one of those big houses. I know, I know, I’m a pastor. I’m supposed to be content and humble of heart and blah, blah, blah… but sometimes I want a house with a fancy hot tub where the water overflows into the pool and there’s a built in speaker system next to the outdoor barbecue area, playing ever so subtly the live recording of Counting Crows’ Round Here as I… wait, what was I talking about?
Oh, right, running.
So last week I was about a mile in when, for no apparent reason, my phone died. It’s been doing that a lot lately, dying even though it says it has 45% battery remaining.
I was annoyed.
My running app was on my phone. My music was on my phone. How was I supposed to enjoy this reprieve without the very things that help sustain my distraction?
Frustrated, I ripped the headphones from my ears and began wrapping the cord around my hand. I stuffed the ear buds into my pocket and immediately felt my heart rate slowing down.
I think normally I would have walked home feeling a bit pouty, like God was picking on me.
Do ever feel like that? Like God is picking on you? Not that He’s a bully necessarily, but more like a little brother on a long car ride in the back of a station wagon.
I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you (he says, while holding a finger an inch from your face).
I know that’s not how God works. He’s not a pest; but sometimes life can just feel annoying, can’t it?
Reoccurring health issues.
Annoying, annoying, annoying.
For some reason, even though irritated, I started back into a slow jog.
I picked up the pace as I anticipated the incline around the corner.
Before I knew it, I was running.
Not only that, I was listening.
I could hear to the sound of lawn mowers and birds singing.
I overheard children playing in back yards.
Dogs were barking.
Cars drove by slowly.
I smiled as a breeze softly brushed through the trees.
That’s when it hit me: so often I feel as though I can write my own prescription. After all, if I’m the doctor and the patient, I should know just the remedy to what ails me. Often that is the case, but in this moment, God knew what I really needed.
It wasn’t angry running music in my ears. It wasn’t a zombie-like trance as I rushed around corners and turns and up hills.
I needed a whisper.
I needed to hear God’s voice through the sound of weed-eaters and lawn mowers and laughing children in the distance somewhere.
It was a powerful moment.
I don’t know if you need a moment like that. Maybe your life is annoying right now. Everything seems crazy, overwhelming, and loud.
Maybe you need a whisper.
What if on the drive home from work you turned the radio off?
What if tonight you sat quietly on your front porch after getting the kids in bed?
Listen to the birds sing.
Scripture talks about how God reveals himself through creation. He shows himself through the rain, sunset, and the air that flows in and out of our lungs. He wants to show us that He’s in the details of our lives, even the ones we don’t take time to notice.
Sometimes it feels like He’s pestering us, but maybe He’s providing the very thing we need.