A few years ago, I was desperately trying to listen for the voice of God speaking to me. I had not ever felt that I had heard His voice, probably because in my constant energetic state of hyper-activity, I never slowed down or kept quiet long enough to hear anything that anyone wanted to tell me, including God. How in the world would I ever hear His still, small voice amid all of the chaos that is my life?
I asked a friend to share his experiences with me. Had he ever heard the still, small voice of God, I wanted to know? He shared a beautiful story with me...
Marty was on retreat at a large shrine with several chapels inside. He had arose early in the day to walk outside and watch the sun rise. It was cold outside, so cold, that he went inside one of the chapels to warm up. He was all alone in the chapel, sitting in a back pew, not thinking any thoughts in particular, not really praying, just trying to get warm. Mass was going on in the upstairs chapel. A woman walked in with a crying baby, probably trying to keep from disturbing the worshipers in the chapel upstairs. She laid him down on the floor, right there in front of the altar, and changed his diaper. All the while that she was changing him, the baby continued to cry. Then she sat down in a pew a few rows in front of my friend, and began to nurse the baby. Suddenly the noise of the frantic baby was silenced. Marty looked at the tabernacle housing the Lord and he was struck by the realization that God had moved from the tabernacle, and was now in the baby. The peace of God had transferred to a real, living, crying, nursing baby in his mother's arms.
Isn't that just like God to enter the places where He is most needed? At that moment in that near-empty chapel, the baby and his mother needed the peace of God. Although Marty didn't realize it at the time, he also needed the peace of God. Even though he himself would never experience the contentment that comes to a mother as she nurses her infant through the release of hormones and the blessing of a sweet and contented baby in her arms, Marty felt that blessed peace just by being a passive witness to that holy scene between a mother and her child. It was a gift from God, an opportunity to feel His love and hear His voice in the silence of nourishing love between mother and child.
On that Christmas Day over 2000 years ago, the world needed Him in the body of a small baby. God entered the world as a baby and we were forever changed. He speaks to us all in those ordinary cries of want and need as well as in the contented sighs of comfort found in a baby who is well-fed and well-loved. Our God is in a precious, helpless baby, dependent on others to meet His needs. He depends on us to serve Him, through our service to others. I pray that I may listen for His voice and then serve Him well, in whichever way He might choose to speak to me.