“So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (WEB)
Rising much earlier than usual one morning I was surprisingly greeted by the subtle but distinct sound of the ocean waves coming ashore from the Gulf of Mexico which is located a little more than a mile south of our home. In between the barrier island facing the Gulf and our home is an almost mile wide expanse of water that provides an unobstructed pathway for the faint but wonderful melody of the faraway waves crashing onto the banks of the barrier island’s shore to travel across. As if custom made for the purposes of this writing this divisional body of water is divinely, from my perspective, called the sound. Just to the north of us is a heavily traveled 4 lane highway that during normal daytime hours creates a constant humming noise as cars and trucks relentlessly zoom past one another in a frenzied attempt to get to their scheduled destinations on time. Try as you might during these “NASCAR” hours the din of an all-too-hurry-up, get-it-done-now world completely drowns out the ongoing beautiful symphony of the cascading waves of the Gulf as they rhythmically greet the waiting shoreline. If you desire to hear the sound of the beach from where I live you must break free from your established and usual daily routine and do something entirely different as I did that particular morning. Hearing the alluring refrain of the waves requires you to purposefully reposition yourself in some meaningful way relative to them. You must turn aside from your daily routine that otherwise has been focused on everything but these sounds. But will you? Is hearing these sounds important enough for you to make such a needed change in your life or will you continue to go on about your day with little to no regard to hearing these sweet sounds?
Now then, what if we were to change things up a bit and apply these circumstances of hearing the sound of the waves to our walk with our Lord? Simply imagine in your mind and heart we’re no longer talking about hearing distant waves break, but instead we now are talking about our listening for the sounds of the Lord. Are we hearing Him? Why or why not? Based on what we have discovered about our hearing the waves in this story it’s about the position we choose to place ourselves in relative to Him regarding whether or not we are able to hear His voice. Jesus is essentially asking us as His followers, “Will you alter what you’re doing by turning aside from _____ (you fill in the blank) to spend time with Me?”
“Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God’s mountain, to Horeb. Yahweh’s angel appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the middle of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. Moses said, “I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” Exodus 3:1-3 (WEB)
When we make such a conscious choice, as Moses did, we’re essentially saying to Him, “Here I am, Lord. I choose You.”
“When Yahweh saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the burning bush, and said, ‘Moses! Moses!’ He said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:4 (WEB)
Taking that first conscious step in His direction and away from our own worldly selves is so vital, of course. As His sons and daughters we can confidently rest in the knowledge that God calls out to each of us personally and intimately in ways that speak deeply and individually to us. After all, as our Creator He knows our hearts so well, better than we do, in fact, so while our own personal experience with the Lord may not quite be the sort of spectacular “in His presence” encounter Moses had with the Lord, it is still no less a miracle, it is still no less personal, it is still no less loving. Simply put, He gets us and understands us as nobody else possibly can. At this moment He is lovingly watching each of us to see if we will purposely turn aside for Him. Why? Because He greatly desires to spend meaningful time with us, His much loved children. While that’s certainly good news it doesn’t stop there. No, far from it, in fact. He longs for us to desire to spend time with Him as well. After all, intimacy is very much a two-way street. When you choose Him by turning aside you capture His attention. And as a follower of Christ who among us isn’t affected such that we are moved into action by the sound of that life changing wave of understanding as it completely washes over us?
“Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (WEB)
“Deep calls to deep at the noise of your waterfalls. All your waves and your billows have swept over me.” Psalm 42:7 (WEB)