There is a song by Todd Agnew (one of my favorites) that has a chorus that so speaks to me right now that I have to share it. I know that I am not the only one. There are too many people out there that I know of that are in the same boat, or the same wilderness. The song is called Written on the Wall. The chorus says this:
“And I wish you still spoke through burning bushes,
And I wish you still wrote, on blocks of stone,
‘Cause the sound of this world’s deafening,
And I’m having a hard time listening,
And I wish your will was still written on the wall.”
The references in this song go back to the Old Testament. The writing on the wall was when God’s hand appeared and wrote on the wall inside the king’s court telling him his days were numbered, and Daniel interpreted it (Daniel 5:1-31). The burning bushes and the blocks of stone are also reference of when Moses was given the Ten Commandments and when God spoke to Moses through the burning bushes.
Even though the references go back to the Old Testament, the desire for God to speak as clearly is still strong today. I don’t know about you, but there are so many times that I really, really wish God would show up and just speak, maybe a heavenly neon sign, or a map, or a burning bush. I pray at times He would be that pillar of smoke in the day and pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21). There are times I just need Him to speak to me. I need guidance. I need His presence. I need to hear from Him, but like the chorus says, it’s so hard to hear Him over the clamor of the world. We get mixed messages from friends and family, we get static from the media, and the world fills our life with noise that blocks out God’s voice.
We have to get away. We have to be still. We need separation from the things that separate us from God. When we are in wilderness, we need Him to guide us. In Psalm 46:10, God tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” It’s easy to know that He is God. It’s easy to put Him in that role. It is not easy to recognize what that means. It is not easy to be still and reflect on what it actually means, how great that role is, and how amazing it is to have a relationship with the living God! Be still! Easier said than done, right? Even Jesus had to do it.
Every time that something major was happening, about to happen, or had a decision to make, Jesus went away to be alone and pray. I recently was reading in Luke 6 (verse 12-16) where Jesus chose the 12 apostles. My Bible points out that there were many disciples (followers) but Jesus appointed 12 of them to be apostles (learners) who would be the ones that Jesus would “do life” with. They would be His community. They would be the ones that He would confide in, train, teach, and trust to be in His inner circle. These were His guys. Jesus didn’t just start pointing at the group and “pick a team.” Before that, in verse 12, Jesus prepared. It says “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” That’s when Jesus needed to make huge decision. The twelve He chose would start THE CHURCH. Jesus got away. He set His alarm clock, He packed a bag, He got up early, He beat the crowd, He went away, He did whatever it is that you are currently thinking it would take for you to be still and meet with God.
How do we find our way in the wilderness? How do we hear God? Is God speaking? He is. He wants to talk to you. But you have to be still. And you have to listen. If you are like me, you spend most of the prayer time praying and not listening. I do all the talking, and I walk away frustrated at times wondering why I haven’t heard from Him. It’s because I won’t shut up usually. See, I get away, I get up early, and I pray, but rarely am I still. Even spending time with Him, I’m not still. I have to change that.
Today, tonight, in the morning, at lunch, at some point, be still. Talk to God, and then be still. Listen. He talks, He guides, He directs, but we only hear Him when we quit hearing ourselves.