She had me at, “God hears your whispers….” Her morning Facebook post got to me immediately. So much so that I didn’t read the rest of her post for a while. This was a declaration I needed to hear today. Although I know her statement to be true, occasionally I’m not completely sure. Typically, when I talk to God in whispers I’m laying down on my side with a soft squeezable pillow held close to my chest. I’m weary, or don’t know what to say. Maybe you have those moments, too.
The first time I heard God whisper was at a Christmas pageant in a long ago November. I was a youngish mother of three at the time. Not yet a woman of faith. My littlest son Matthew was acting on stage, perfectly cast for his role. One of his aunts had telephoned to ask if her church could borrow him. Though there were thousands in attendance there, not one boy baby had been born among them that autumn. His aunt was asking permission for her nephew to be infant Jesus in her church’s Christmas pageant.
The church was about an hour away and was (still is) what we call today a non-denominational megachurch. My husband hesitated because of the distance and use of gasoline for the trip (even in 1972). Eventually we agreed to let his sister borrow our three-month-old son. I can’t tell you what Matthew wore, but I can tell you he didn’t cry. He was perfectly content the whole time he was in the manger. (We could unpack that for a while, you and me. Are we content in the place where God has called us to be?) As it turned out, that’s who Matthew became as he grew. Smiling. Cheery. Content. Even when he was sick. And it’s who he is today as a husband, father, Christ-follower, and soldier.
I recall that my husband’s family came to the pageant as well as one of my sisters. Up to this time I was only acquainted with Catholicism and attending Mass, though I did attend protestant youth group with my husband when we were dating. If my priest mentioned anything about God whispering, I don’t remember. Nor was there any mention at home in my growing up years about what faith in God meant in one’s everyday life. I did wrong things along the way, but was mostly dutiful about church. It’s what I knew.
After the pageant, the much-loved pastor spoke to the congregation. Somewhere during his talk, it happened. A total surprise. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I heard God’s voice. By my right ear.
“It’s your turn.”
That’s all He said.
What do you do with that? What would you have done? I didn’t know what was happening. And I was essentially unchurched in hearing God speak.
When congregants walked to the front of the church as the minister was concluding his talk, I sensed a nudge to join them for prayer there. It was my first time to walk up a church aisle for prayer. When I returned to my seat, three things were new: I was happy, I wanted a bible, and I knew to throw away the zodiac ashtrays and calendar someone gave us as a gift. God’s calling on my life was already in motion. Two months later we were living in Germany. My military husband had received orders to serve there. It wasn’t until we settled into life on a foreign airbase that God began to unfold the meaning of His three word invitation in earnest. I didn’t realize at first that I had given my life to Jesus Christ that pageant night.
My spiritual journey isn’t about a traditional way one comes to faith in Jesus Christ, but it’s the one God wrote on my heart. His pen was but a whisper, but it changed the direction of my life like a mighty rudder. Only God knew where I was heading in those days. He came to my rescue in a way that becomes more and more meaningful as I serve Him and continue to discover how He speaks. When I hear His whisper now, it’s still short. A mere few words. Without explanation. But I have learned to step into them and follow His lead, as I did the night my infant third-born filled in for baby Jesus. Do you know the meaning of the name Matthew? Gift of God. A God-sent gift. With the purpose of drawing me to Him. God has a purpose for every child He creates.
Are you curious about the rest of the post from this morning? Here it is:
“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12:2-3
While Jesus’ words here are cautionary to His disciples about the Pharisees, I received them as a strong reminder that God hears my every whisper (thank you, Yvette!). Whether it’s an aside to someone or whether it’s a confident or unsure prayer in His direction. Is there anything more “inner room” than where we sleep? When it’s your turn for pillow prayer and you can only muster a feathery petition or a timid pouring out of your heart, know that God hears and interprets every word your lips form. Your every whisper matters. Even the slightest murmur is known to Him. Are you listening for His voice? This I know: He is fluent in whisper. It’s how He got my attention.