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Myers: Father’s voice calms in trying times

POSTED: September 21, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Each night before I go to bed, I go into Chloe and Cole's rooms to check on them.

I make sure they're not about to roll off the edge of their beds. I make sure they're tucked under the covers. I stand there and watch their sweet slumber for a minute or two, then I steal one - or several - last kisses.

On one particular night, Chloe had kicked off her covers. After I drew them back over her, I leaned down for a kiss. My knee struck the side of her mattress as I did so, giving her bed a little shake.

Chloe's eyes shot open. Although she was still asleep, she looked around with a panicked expression on her face. She mumbled something incoherent and started thrashing from side to side.

Chloe had been dreaming. When my knee hit the bed, it had disturbed her. What probably began as a sweet dream became something altogether different with the unexpected jostling of her bed.

I had to do something, and quick. If she kept on she was going to wake up, and I'd have a hard time getting her back to sleep. I leaned down and whispered into her ear, "Shh, baby, it's Daddy. Daddy's here. You're OK."

The effect was immediate. She closed her eyes, her body stilled and within seconds I heard the deep, rhythmic breathing of a child sound asleep.

I marveled at how quickly the change occurred. Within seconds, the voice of her daddy was enough to dispel her panic and return her to a state of peace.

The voice of our heavenly father can do that, too. I'm not talking about a disembodied voice booming from out of the heavens, though - I'm talking about the still, small voice of God, quietly speaking words of comfort and encouragement to his children.

The prophet Elijah heard that voice. In 1 Kings 18, he defeated 450 prophets of Baal. Shortly thereafter, Jezebel threatened to kill him for what he'd done. In an instant, Elijah's life went from sweet victory to a living nightmare. Running for his life, he took refuge in a cave.

While there, God spoke to Elijah. He told Elijah to go stand at the mouth of the cave. In rapid succession, Elijah witnessed a powerful wind, an earthquake and a great fire. But God's presence was not in any of them. Finally, Elijah heard a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). It was in the whisper that Elijah recognized the presence of God.

That gentle whisper, the voice of God, comforted Elijah. It encouraged him. It gave him the strength he needed to keep serving the Lord.

Are you like Chloe? Or maybe Elijah? Perhaps everything in your life was just fine until things suddenly changed, carrying you in a direction you never expected. Now you're worried; you're fearful; you don't know what to do.

Listen. Listen for the voice of your heavenly father. His voice brings comfort. His voice brings encouragement. The problem, though, is we often miss it because we're looking and listening for the booming voice out of the heavens, while God often speaks in a gentle whisper.

Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column runs in Sunday Life every other week.



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