Our time parallels that of the boy, Samuel, in the Old Testament “when the word of the Lord was rare…” For me, ‘the word of the Lord” means that inner Voice which dwells within each of us. It is not the voice of conscience, nor is it a voice out of our own creative genius or imagination. Thomas Kelly in his book, “A Testament of Devotion,” says it best, “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice…It is a seed stirring to life if we do not choke it…And He is within us all.”
Why is it so rare for me, and no doubt for you, to hear that Voice? I think it is because there are so many voices clamoring for a hearing (including our own). There is a saying, “Quiet, quiet, I can’t hear myself think.” Who can hear their own thinking these days given all the voices bombarding us? There are the voices coming at us from the Right and the Left, the voices out of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Africa. There are the voices of Europe, China, Russia and the United States. There are so many voices bursting into our lives that we can’t even determine what is true and what is false anymore. It just all runs together. A cacophony of voices fill all our waking moments via social media. We have become so accustomed to the babel from the TV in our living rooms that we cannot stand to be without the babel. How can we hear our own thoughts unless we break away somehow from the insistent voices outside (and the babel within) ourselves? How can we hear what has been called “that still small voice” if we can’t even hear our own?
Now it is said, that a person who begins to “hear voices” no one else seems to hear is on the verge of insanity or has already succumbed. The truth of the matter is that some of the most influential characters in history heard the Voice within and made a real and positive difference in the life of the world. “In every man [woman],” wrote George Fox, “there is something that is not of dust or earth or flesh or time, but of God.” This Voice speaks within all of us, no matter our religious belief or our situation. Was St. Francis of Assisi crazy? Was Jesus a lunatic? Perhaps I am, too! Let all the badgering voices of our every waking moment be silenced; listen for that Inner Voice, for we live in a time when the word of the Lord is rare.