Four months into parenthood, I was quite proud of myself. I finally figured out a way to use a cart while grocery shopping that worked for me. I took this mundane ability for granted before the arrival of Sweet Girl, but since she came on the scene, I’ve learned—repeatedly—to take nothing for granted. I zipped around Trader Joe’s, putting this and that in my cart, while Sweet Girl rested on my chest in a K’tan carrier. An angelic light shone above me while fellow customers broke out in song to celebrate my triumph. Suddenly, the music stopped and the light dimmed. As soon as I smelled it, I knew—this musical was going to be a drama, not a comedy. I abandoned my cart near the restroom and encountered a most generous blowout that covered Sweet Girl, my mighty K’tan, and my shirt (thank God for layering!). After cleaning up, I created a make shift bed for Sweet Girl in our cart and quickly finished shopping. I had come too close to success to give up!
Life is full of those up and down moments; the shift from comedy to drama usually happens before we can catch our breath. Elijah, a prophet from the Old Testament, was no stranger to such switches. After a crazy good miracle (1 Kings 18), he finds himself running for his life (1 Kings 19). A bit more somber than a diaper explosion! He goes into the wilderness…not to get away with God, but to quit, to give up, to just be done. God, however, isn’t finished with Elijah’s story and instead invites Elijah to get away with God and to reground himself in his relationship with God. God promises Elijah to make his presence known to him. As Elijah waits for God’s presence, an earthquake comes; a fire comes; a wind comes; God is in none of those imposing things. Then a still, small voice, a whisper comes. Elijah recognizes God’s voice and listens as God encourages him and then gives him new direction and fresh vision for his life. Elijah takes it all in and is bolstered to finish his race well.
Like Elijah, we may be experiencing similar emotions in our current reality of COVID-19 uncertainty. In the chaotic, when we’re on the verge of giving up, God is inviting us to get away and hear God’s voice. As we respond to this invitation, we can take time to grow in our relationship with God and to practice hearing God’s voice. Through God’s voice will come the cup-filling-to-overflowing encouragement that we need to face today as well as renewed vision for our tomorrows. This is something that we can take with us long after this crisis has faded. When the world returns to normal, we can returned transformed because what we cultivated in the quiet will bear fruit in the loud of everyday life.
I spent time in my early twenties growing in my relationship with God and learning how to hear God’s voice, which is always biblical, brilliant, and big-hearted. Because I did, I continue to see the fruit of that time years and years and years (*ahem* over a decade *ahem*) later. Hearing God’s voice led me to my dream job—which is a crazy story for another time. As I dated, God’s voice guided me to my husband, and today, as a first time parent, it’s God’s voice that can be louder in my heart than my Sweet Girl’s cries. I am not perfect at hearing God’s voice, and there have been seasons when I have not stilled myself long enough to listen. And sometimes God is quiet. No matter what, God has always been faithful to meet me where I am, even in the silence, just as God was faithful to meet Elijah, just as God will be faithful to meet you.
Movement Step: For some, stay at home orders have created large amounts of space and time to spend with God. For others, space is crowded with working or schooling from home. Whatever your situation, fight to spend time with God. Be creative in how you do it. Perhaps you’ll need to work out a break system with your spouse in which you take turns going for a 30 minute walk while the other has kid duty. Perhaps, your time with God takes place during your baby’s nap or your toddler’s rest break. Or maybe you can fill your home with worship music and listen to the Bible on the YouVersion app. Whatever you do, God will bless your movement step, and know that I am praying for you.