A Still Small Voice

My niece wrapped in a towel after her kitchen sink bath.

Around the time of my mid-teens my brother began his tenure with the Air Force and was subsequently stationed overseas. While he was away his wife and daughter came to live with my parents and myself. The last time a baby lived in our home the baby was me, so this was a new experience. I don’t think anyone ever expected a lot from me in the way of being responsible for my niece, and I mostly found the experience to be positive. One thing I discovered for sure though was small humans did not necessarily exercise a small voice. Although they are not born with the ability to communicate in a way we always understand, nature still gives babies a voice that gets our attention. Like a car alarm, you just want the noise to stop. If only handling an infant’s needs was always as simple as finding the right button to push.

The bible doesn’t relate to us whether Jesus was an especially calm or cranky baby. As far as we know he was typical, and automatically made it well known when he had needs. If a little cry didn’t bring satisfaction, the alarm would get louder until it did. As Jesus grew, his intellectual and spiritual understanding grew also. We see vignettes of Jesus at 12, separated from his parents and reasoning with adults regarding scripture. Later, as an adult, we find him at times angry, passionate, even sorrowful. Every volume of emotion and reason with which we are familiar, Jesus experienced in full, being fully human. He was not just some spiritual being who deigned to be for a time among us to show us the error of our ways and a right path. Becoming as we are and experiencing our every voice brought greater perspective and legitimacy to his own life and sacrifice, which would then be followed by the miracle of his resurrection.  Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV So, what is this “still small voice” we speak of? The only direct reference found in scripture is in 1st Kings. Speaking to Elijah… The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. 1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV
If God wanted to, he could use any force of nature at his disposal to coerce us into submission. However, time and time again God chooses instead to use a “gentle whisper.” Is it any wonder that this is the voice that speaks most clearly to our hearts?

The still small voice
my heart in time heard
began in a makeshift cradle
in a manger with the sound of a baby’s cry.


Quite an inauspicious start
for the savior of the world.
Our eternal joy made possible
because God’s Son arrived.


Magnify
his still small voice.
Give him supremacy in your life,
make him king.
Along with every angel,
with every child of God,
lift your hands,
lift your voices,
and sing.


©Joel Tipple 12/14/2019

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