Some years ago, my dad was on a tour of the Holy Land with a group of Pastors. He had been on several occasions before, but this one was to help train this group on how to personally lead a tour in this Biblical region of the world. They saw all sorts of things. The empty tomb. The Jordan River. The Temple Mount. The Dead Sea. And much more.
One day, the group of Pastors found themselves on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Trying to soak in the wonder of being upon the waters that much of Jesus’ story took place, the men found themselves having a very special spiritual moment with the Lord. That is until the disruption came.
A party boat started speeding their way. The boom box on this booze cruise was blaring with one of the most illustrious 90’s dance craze jams: The Macarena. The entire boat was moving their hands from their head to their shoulders to their backs and shaking their bon-bons, unwittingly ruining the quiet moments of reflection with Jesus the preachers were having.
What happens to you when your quiet moments of alone time with the Lord get ruined?
Often after a wonderful revelation from the Lord or incredible encounter that could only have been orchestrated by Him, I find myself being disturbed by an abrupt change to my environment and a boisterous bother to my quiet moment of growth.
Does that ever happen to you?
I’ve been thinking about that lately and I’ve decided that Jesus is ok with it getting a little noisy after we’ve been in the quiet with Him.
The noise almost always follows the whisper.
God spoke the world into existence. Whether He used a booming voice to create or chiseled the world through whispers in the galaxies, His was the only voice speaking into the dark and void. But then, there were bird chirps, dinosaur feet thumping, elephants trumpeting, lions roaring, and Humans chattering.
God spoke privately with Moses through the burning bush. Still glowing from being in the Lord’s presence, Moses had to go back and face the grumbling Israelites and lay down the law.
Hannah prayed silently begging God to give her a child and promising to give him back to Him. And Samuel was born. When he had grown, he was the mouthpiece God used to answer the beckoning of the Israelites for a king.
The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, when she was alone to share the news that she was with child. Yet, the sky was lit up with angels when Jesus was born and the world got noisy and full of ruckus when He started his ministry.
And then there was the silent tomb that came after Jesus spoke the words, “It is finished.” Conversations have been booming ever since His voice spoke outside the tomb to proclaim He was alive.
So, you’ve had your whispers. Maybe they’re from God, maybe they’re not.
But what do you do when the noise disrupts your quiet little world?
What do you do when your peaceful experience of minding your own business is ruined?
You filter the noise through the whispers of truth.
That baby whose screams are keeping you from alone time with God… God has sent you to offer loving arms to rock and feed the little one He has entrusted you with.
That landlord who sends you a nasty letter about the busted out screen on your front porch of the home you just opened to host a party to support an entrepreneur friend who is trying to make ends meet? Perhaps God has placed you in that home and under that landlord to tend this home so he can focus on what God has called him to do.
That driver who just cut you off on your way home from hearing an awesome message at church? Maybe he’s on the way to the hospital to spend the last few moments of his wife’s life by her bedside. Maybe God let you be cut off so that you’d feel obligated to be nice to him since you just left church and all.
That friend who texts you late into the night after you and your husband have just laid your heads on the pillows? Maybe God impressed you as the person that friend should text because He had given you a word for that very need earlier in the week when you were reviewing your homework for Bible study.
That phone call you receive from a loved one in the middle of the night beckoning you to come to the hospital? Maybe God pulled you from your slumber to help them be able to slumber in their time of distress.
That message that penetrates your inbox from a friend in Africa, trying to survive and proclaim Jesus to His congregation that you just can’t seem to ignore like you do all the Farmville and Bejeweled requests that come through? Maybe God was mixing things up a little bit in your life so you could practice what you were learning about being Jesus to the least of these and to do something to help.
Our world is overwhelmed by noisiness. And it’s disruptive. I can’t even enjoy my gorgeous backyard for long before I hear the sounds of sirens, leaf blowers, and neighbors.
After the rare, still, quiet moments of tranquility and rejuvenation that God allows us to experience, when the noise comes, for it surely will, we are given the choice for how to respond and the chance TO respond.
When the Macarena-blaring boats of life ruin your Sea of Galilee moments, are you going to get a sour disposition and get upset for the disruption? Or are you going to chuckle and dance along until you can whisper a few words of truth back to the disruption?
Maybe the disruption isn’t a chuckling or dance-appropriate matter. Maybe the noise is desperation or distress.
When the dances and daunts of life plague your tranquility, make a good choice. Make the choice to breathe life into the lifeless with good news. Make the choice to react with a heart brimming over with the hope that was brought to you when you were hopeless. Use your breath to whisper, sing, or shout the truth and hope of Jesus Christ, whatever is most apt, but don’t use it to sigh in exasperation.
You were shouting once too. You, also, were once obnoxiously ruining the tranquility that was intended for the world.
Watch the Macarena dancers and smile.
Then take a deep breath before you whisper the good news that came from Son of God who was a man from Galilee.
Go ahead, whisper what He spoke in your ear that gloriously wrecked your own Macarena dancing oblivion and gave you a new dance.
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:11-12 NIV
***Oh, and my own Sea of Galilee Moment of writing this piece was completely disrupted by a phone call with disturbing news. You’re not the only audience I’m writing for. Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking into a mirror as I write these things. Yes, friend. Life is noisy. Respond through the whispers that God has spoken into your ear.***