Speak UP Lord!
Please, would you speak AUDIBLE words to my soul? I want to HEAR you. I need to HEAR from you.
These are honest words, spoken from a desperate heart, that I often cry out. I enter into barren seasons where I fear my ability to know He is there. Sara Groves summed up my feelings best when she penned the words to her song Hello Lord:
“I don’t doubt your sovereignty, I doubt my own ability, to hear what you’re saying and to do the right thing, and I desperately want to do the right thing, but right now I don’t hear so well, and I was wondering if you could speak up….”
There are seasons in my life when I need for the Lord to use a megaphone. My own personal fears, heartaches, ponderings, and random thoughts drown out His voice. It is during those seasons that I have a very hard time hearing from the Lord. I have learned, through experience, to fight the urge to shy away from His Word, and to quite frankly, read the Word even when I don’t feel like it.
Why do we shy away from discussing these seasons? We pretend like these seasons don’t occur for the believer. As if we are all walking around in a state of bliss and holiness. I no longer want to pretend that I am okay when there are days I am functioning on autopilot. I know I’m not alone in this, because when I open scripture, I always find a friend. I find an exhausted friend at the end of his rope.
Sometimes when I am feeling really alone, I will open scripture and visualize myself sitting and having a conversation with whomever I am reading about.
This is my candid conversation with Elijah (paraphrased from 1 Kings 19):
I was afraid. I ran. I ran as long as I could. You know a good run clears the mind. I was so spent! At the end of my run, I found a broom tree and sat down beneath it and prayed: “Lord! Take me now!”
I am not proud of this moment, but this is reality. I am not doing you any favors if I try to sugar coat it. I was DONE. I was feeling overworked, overlooked, and unappreciated. I cried out, “I’m doing everything you want Lord! WHY am I not seeing results?”
Just as you may be now, I was desperate to hear the Lord speak to me. In my desperation, I fell asleep.
What the Lord did next surprised me. He woke me up and He fed me. Literally. He first met my most basic need. After eating, I got some much needed sleep.
Finally feeling strong enough, I traveled to a place where I could seek the Lord and hear from Him. I too cried out for Him to SPEAK UP! I want you to know I never heard him shout. An earthquake came, I was sure I would hear Him speak then. Crickets…
A fire came! Aha! My burning bush moment! I knew God spoke to Moses through a burning bush, so I strained my ear for His word. Nothing.
Then, a whisper. One so gentle I had to quiet my breath to hear it. It was only when I became very still that I finally heard His gentle whisper.
I have a question for you. If He was to shout at you right now, would you really hear what He needed to say? Of course not. He knows you are in a barren season right now. He hears your cries and He knows he has to get you to a place where you CAN hear from Him. So, when you find yourself in those dry seasons, don’t beat yourself up. Recognize your need to get alone with the King of the Universe. Take it from me: you will not find Him in a grand earthquake experience that rattles your soul. The Lord longs to be much closer to you. He wants to pull your depressed heart in close and whisper in your ear.
Lessons from my candid conversation
Do you find yourself today in an empty season? I get it! You are not alone. These empty seasons can be terrifying. When you can’t hear the Lord and you are begging for Him to speak UP, recognize it as the moment you need to get really still and listen for His whisper.
He is waiting for you.
Here are a few take-aways I gained from my candid conversation with Elijah.
- The Lord is patient with us. He did not meet Elijah with a “get over it” attitude. He met his need and he encouraged his heart. Read 1 Kings 19:19 and you will find he even supplied Elijah with a much needed friend.
- Take care of yourself. If you allow yourself to get run down it can hinder your ability to hear. Before the Lord spoke to Elijah, he fed him. Read 1 Kings 19:7-8.
- The Lord does NOT speak the same way every time. He is not going to speak to you the same way He speaks to someone else. Read 1 Kings 19:12-13. I love that he chose a gentle whisper. He very well could have chosen a thunderous voice or a burning fire. I recognize here a loving God who is being very tender with a believer who is in a vulnerable state.