Just as the lights of the city keep me from seeing all of the stars that are actually there, the noise around me and in me keeps me from hearing God as he whispers His personal message to me continually.
I was in Buena Vista Colorado last week. Buena Vista is a town of around 2,000 people with only one stop light. When I first visited there 40 years ago that was the case and it is still the same today. Actually I was a few miles above the town on the edge of a mountain where there were few houses and no bright lights. I was at over 8,000 feet in altitude and the air is thinner as well. The first night of the visit I was outside with our host and he suggested I look up. The only way to describe what I saw was that it was awe-inspiring. It almost took my breath away. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and being in the countryside away from the lights of civilization there were tens of thousands of stars visible. I could see the outline of the Milky Way. The sky was much brighter than usual and only due to the sheer number of the stars visible. The ground itself seemed to be lit by the light of the stars alone. My host made the comment that “you don’t see that in Atlanta” and he was right.
In Atlanta there are only a fraction of the stars I saw that night. As I leave the house in the morning I often look up at the sky and thank God for “showing off.” The magnitude of difference in the Colorado night is impossible to describe. This morning as I got into my truck at 5:30 and looked at the stars I realized that I was only seeing a fraction of reality. There are more stars there than I can see or even imagine. The difference is that the lights of my subdivision and the city of Gainesville and even distant Atlanta overpower the light of the distant stars. The reality is still the reality. The stars haven’t moved or gone away. I just can’t see them because of distraction created by other lights. I have to go to a different place to see clearly.
Hearing the voice of God is a lot like that. Just as the lights of the city keep me from seeing all of the stars that are actually there, the noise around me and in me keeps me from hearing God as he whispers His personal message to me continually. As moving into the sparsely populated area of Colorado enables me to see stars I didn’t realize existed, so moving into solitude (simply being by myself) and silence allows me to be in position to hear God speak. As I have to look up to see the stars, I have to look in to hear the voice of God. As the stars take my breath away, the Presence of the God Who created each one and calls them by name changes my life as I allow Him to whisper to me in solitude and silence. As the stars are seen best in the darkness of the less populated areas, so the witness of the saints is that God is often best heard in solitude and silence. Solitude was practiced by Jesus, who often left his disciples to go to be alone with His Father. It has been practiced and proven by His followers through the centuries.
Just as men and women have looked to the stars for a glimpse of the work of the Creator, I move to solitude to hear His gentle whisper to me.
- Dick Baxter
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”
(Psalm 19:1-4a NIV - Italics added)