I strained to hear it again. Nothing. Unmoving, I held my hair dryer in mid air as if my frozen stance would silence the world around me, just in case there was another rumble. Still, nothing. A glance at my phone’s weather app was clear. Sunshine. No rain.
So, why the thunder?
Trusting my ears than more than the weather service, I peeked through the blinds at the early morning sky. Its crystal depths should have left no room for doubt. Except for the fact that I heard thunder.
The umbrella I snagged on my way out the door would prepare me for the storm I had no doubt was coming. Another rumble only confirmed my suspicions. What did the weather service know?
Yes. Thunder. I knew the sound.
Feeling so much more prepared than the rest of the world and carrying my umbrella like a scroll of wisdom, I smiled and waved at our neighbor standing at the curb. Our neighbor with his trashcan. The trashcan he rolled across the pavement.
The trashcan that sounded like thunder.
It wasn’t the first time I had mistaken something for the sound of thunder.
I’ve never literally heard the voice of God, though I have discerned Him speaking to me. Sometimes His words have been undeniable. Those times when out of the blue He has urged me to speak to someone or to step out of my comfort zone in doing some particular thing. Those are the times I feel the rumble of His thunder pierce my soul.
I know that thunder.
Then, there are those times when I actively seek His words. There are those occasions when I desperately search for His guidance. I strain to hear His direction. And I hear so many noises. Confusing noises that can sound a lot like thunder.
Why all the confusing noise? Why the false thunder?
It’s not that I don’t know the thunder of God’s voice when I hear it.
It’s that I allow too many other noises into my life. Noises that distract me. Noises that disguise themselves and draw my attention away from the true thunder.
Those noises aren’t always inherently bad things. There’s the sound of the contemporary Christian music that’s always playing in my car. There are the words my mind hears when I read devotions or several Christian blogs I follow. They are good words. Encouraging words. Words divinely given to godly men and women to write for the benefit of others.
But they are the words of man.
Sometimes I let man’s words crowd out God’s words.
Those personal words He has specifically for me. Sometimes I just let the noise of the world drown out the thunder. I’ve found myself doing that for a few weeks now.
There’s nothing wrong with the music I’ve listened to… except for the fact that I’ve let it take the place of times when I should have been listening for the roar of the Lion from Jerusalem. There’s certainly nothing wrong with reading Christian devotions and blog posts. God has often spoken to me through them.
But they are no substitute for His Word. His Word that is both a personal love letter to me and a weapon in spiritual warfare.
Even good words can be a distraction from the thing I really need. Sometimes they can be noise.
Enough of the noise.
Enough of the things I’ve let hinder my passion for God.
Enough of the words I’ve allowed to become substitutes for His.
It’s time for some alone time with Him. Time to put aside the e-devotionals and get out of my inbox for a while. Fellow bloggers, please take no offense. Your words are God-given and have been like a balm to my soul. But there are times when we are called to get away with God. With nothing else and no one else.
That’s where I find myself now.
Even good words can clutter my soul when I allow them to replace God’s words. Even good words can distract from the Word God wants to speak to me through His thunder.
I’ve known the thunder. Enough of the noise. Give me more thunder.
Whenever this happens, my heart stops — I’m stunned, I can’t catch my breath. Listen to it! Listen to His thunder, the rolling, rumbling thunder of His voice. He lets loose His lightnings from horizon to horizon, lighting up the earth from pole to pole. In their wake, the thunder echoes His voice, powerful and majestic. He lets out all the stops, He holds nothing back. No one can mistake that voice — His word thundering so wondrously, His mighty acts staggering our understanding. (Job 37:1-5, MSG)