One night, as I try to sleep, I hear a neighbour’s cows calling for their calves. The owner must have separated them during the day. The tone is one of distress, and while they are a long way away, the noise carries across the miles on the night air. The separation is made in order to allow the calves to grow stronger and the cows to recover from feeding their offspring. In the morning, the noise is greater, the cows sounding very close to panic.
As I listen, the similarity with our lives in a world trying to deal with a pandemic isn’t lost on me. They sound just like many of the people we talk to and the newsfeeds on our social media and television sets.
But closer to home I hear another voice — a bird is singing. It’s quieter and relaxed, it’s enjoying the cool morning air. What I discover is that if I focus on the birdsong, the noise of the cattle fades; if I focus on the cattle and their cries, the birdsong fades.
In a world in distress, I need to remember to stay focused on the voice that is calm, relaxed and reassuring. That voice belongs to God, our Lord!
I was reminded of the time when Elijah felt that he was alone. It’s very easy for us feel alone these days, when we are locked in our homes. We live in troubled times, just as Elijah did. What did God tell Elijah to do?
“Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.”
And behold, the LORD passed by,
and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains
and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD,
but the LORD was not in the wind;
and after the wind an earthquake,
but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
And after the earthquake a fire;
but the LORD was not in the fire:
and after the fire a still small voice.”
~ 1 Kings 19:11-12
The voice asked Elijah what he was doing. Now I know that we cannot go out and literally stand before a mountain, not unless you live on a farm somewhere that has one; you cannot run the risk of being arrested. We are already standing in front of a mountain anyway, even in our homes.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, what are we doing? Are we listening to the frantic noise or the quiet voice of God? Let us remember that God’s voice is the quiet one, the bird over the cows, and He is speaking to us; we just need to focus in order to keep hearing Him.
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.”
~ 1 Corinthians 1:9
At a time when face-to-face fellowship with other humans is at an all time low, let us remember that Jesus through the Holy Spirit can share with us at any time anywhere, and use even cows and birds to speak to us.
Lord, help us to hear Your voice of reassurance in the quiet things.
Help us to focus on You, and place the panic in the background where it belongs.
Remind us constantly that You are in control,
and that all these trials will help our faith to grow stronger,
as long as we stay focused on You.