I was at my annual eye appointment yesterday sitting in an examination chair waiting for my eyes to dilate. The exam chair is not very far from the receptionist's desk and even though there are small doors between this exam area and the front desk I could hear conversations very clearly. I was trying to look at my phone and magazines while I waited for the doctor to see me and the office's phone rang. The assistant at the desk took the call and I grinned and chuckled. You see, I was sitting so close by I could hear the voice of the person on the other end of the line. It was my dad. I laughed to myself about this only happens in small-town America but more wonderful than that was the comfort and confidence hearing my dad's voice brings.
I suppose if you had a bad relationship with your dad the sound of his voice would bring about other feelings. Instead of comfort and confidence, you might feel fear, anxiety or depression. Maybe if you didn't have a dad at all, you'd feel alone or abandoned because there is no dad's voice, just a vacuum. I wonder if we often equate the sound of our earthly father's voice to that of God's. Do we hear God speak to us in a loving but firm tone or do we hear condemnation and threats?
Regardless of how we hear God, the Bible tells us about God's voice. While Elijah ran for his life and hid himself in a cave, we are told that God was not heard in the whirlwind or fire or earthquake that threatened Elijah; no, God's voice was described as still and small. When John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as Messiah and baptized Him, God's voice called out from heaven and told everyone Jesus was His son with whom He was well pleased. God's voice spoke words of encouragement and pride for His son. Later, when Jesus was on the mountain experiencing the Transfiguration God once again used His voice to tell the disciples to listen to His son and do what He says. God's voice brings guidance and protection.
If we're not careful we let our earthly relationships mar the relationship with our Heavenly Father. It's easy to allow those who mistreated us to color the our view of God, especially if we were mistreated by a parent or someone in the Church whom we were to have trusted. But like the sound of my dad's voice over that phone just a few feet away, the voice of our Heavenly Father should bring comfort, confidence and most of all, it should remind us of love.
When you are tempted to think that God's voice is filled with disdain, anger and disgust, I encourage you meditate on this verse from Zephaniah 3:17 which says:
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."
He sings over us! Do you know that this verse comes after much turmoil for Israel. This verse tells how God is going to treat the remnant of His people...even after they lived for years denying Him and running from Him to other gods. Even after they tried everything in their power to live apart from Him. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? I know that many times in my life I've done all of those things and more and yet, He sings over me!
I loved when my babies were little and my husband would sing to them. I love when we come home from church or a ride in the car and my husband goes about the house singing or humming. It brings comfort and confidence. I pray that if you've heard a harsh word from God, you will start to hear Him differently, that you would hear His still, small voice singing loving words over you.