I am surrounded by small voices. It is no exaggeration to say that in a 24-hour period, I may hear a small voice utter (or scream) my name hundreds of times. Small voices proclaim satisfaction and displeasure with equal frequency and volume in my life. I have learned to tune out small voices—multitask. In fact, an explosion of small voices may go off at any moment and I may not even break stride or chain of thought. I am good at ignoring small voices.
Lately, Hubby and I have a poor track record when it comes to church attendance. Between travel (which we do often), getting three kids up and moving on a Sunday (when we are home), and the general organization it takes to be anywhere at a specific time, we have a tendency to be sporadic in attending our congregation’s weekly gathering. After returning from a trip out of town late one Saturday night, we put our kids to bed with the announcement that we would “wait and see” about church the next morning.
Our three-year-old was up at 6:30am the following morning—his small voice breaking the silence of our slumber.
With more than enough time to shower, eat, and get to church, we did just that.
Hubby and I found our seats just as the music began. I robotically moved my lips not really singing along. I think my mind was on dinner that night. Whether the wind was going to be a factor in our afternoon plans. Did I leave wet laundry in the machine? Our pastor came out to start his weekly message—the thought occurred, Oh good, we can sit now.
Much to my surprise, he asked the worship team to play the song again. He said something along the lines of: “This wasn’t planned, but I hear a need—I think we all need to take a minute and really listen to this message. I know each of you have something you are going through—everyone does. I’m going to ask we dim the lights and be quiet. Take this time and ask God for whatever it is that you need. Everyone in this room has needs and God is big enough to meet them all. Ask Him—invite Him in.” The music began again.
This time I actually listened.
I heard small voices. Some personified—those around me praying, whispering their needs. And some small voices, which came from within.
The warm tear escaped the corner of my eye, ran down my face and crossed my lips leaving a salty memory. I looked around the room. Those who were not in tears were present if nothing else. In three and a half minutes we transformed from a room full of random people into a church.
When the sermon continued, I was ready—I was listening.
The aim of the message was spiritual maturity. I’m not going to hash out the entire lesson. Suffice it to say, it was powerful truth that hit home for me.
I left wondering what each of the tears shed in that room represented—pain, suffering, shame, need, fear, gratitude, relief, acceptance…love. I left wondering how I might grow my own spiritual maturity.
I left that day renewed in the knowledge that small voices often speak directly to my heart—I just have to listen. I left that day renewed—grateful for the knowledge that I am surrounded by small voices.
I left ready to listen to small voices.