Day Seven: Meditation
Knowing His Voice
By Gabriele Replogle
As a Father’s Day gift I have been compiling my father’s ‘dadisms’ and am planning to get several of his fourteen grandkids to make a recording impersonating him. You know, those sayings that if you heard them again they would immediately turn you back into your tween eye-rolling self.
“Is it edifying?”
“Get along little doggies.”
“Work first, play later.”
My dad even has a special ‘click’ sound that once he did it, we could locate him in a large auditorium. I know my dad’s voice, even when it’s just one of his sayings and not his actual voice, because I know what sort of things he says.
“Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey His word. It is that simple.” Richard Foster explains in his book Celebration of Discipline. God’s voice, like any others’, can be recognized and learned. The goal in meditation is to learn to hear God’s voice, His tone, His emphasis, and His silence. We do this by paying attention and pausing, to listen, really listen to God. In His Word, in His creation, in His working around us. We look around and say, “God, I believe you are trying to speak to me, what do you have to say?”
This basic understanding of Christian meditation differs from Eastern meditation practices which seek to subsume oneself and to become one with what surrounds us. However, Christian meditation is not merely about emptying oneself (which is necessary), but by being filled up with the attributes and love of our Father, imitating his Son, and in step with His Holy Spirit. Time with Him illumines our life, redefines our identity and redirects our paths. We must let go of things and leave some things behind in order to pick up the good things He has for us. We are poured out, in order to be filled.
This pathway to God’s presence requires that we know what God’s voice sounds like, that we spend time in His Word knowing the great I AM, and it requires that we know what He is NOT. He is not the father of lies, He is not a deceiver, He is not shame, or darkness. Those things flee when He is speaking.
Of course our days are not often filled with silent walks around serene ponds listening to the birds chirp as we hear Jesus whisper to us. These moments are important and defining—to hear Him clearly and distinctly. We all need mountaintop moments when we firmly sense His GOODNESS, TRUTH, and BEAUTY. But He is most certainly also present in the hustle and bustle of daily tasks. Our teeth brushing, laundry folding, fast food ordering, dog-walking-and-poop-scooping sort of life. Our days have many voices coming at us from spouses, children, radio talk shows, internet memes, cell phone dings, and co-worker interruptions.
I prefer my times of meditation when I am in quiet, in solitude, preferably hiking the mountains or gorges in the Pacific Northwest. However, I’ll take any crisp, clean, outdoor air I can get. Even if it is lined with corn stalks or street lights. I prefer my walks in the gardens with Jesus when the scent of flowers invigorates my senses. (Have you noticed the walking theme? Meditation on the MOVE is meditation for me!)
However, I have found I must also walk with Jesus and meditate, really listen to His voice in the busyness that is my season of life. As this busyness cannot always be escaped. There are some things I can turn off, though. Even my dependency on worship music may be distracting me from hearing from Him. The phone and laptop can be misplaced or purposely set aside.
Jesus, I know you are speaking to me today. What do you have to say to me? Usually it is something like: BE kinder. Don’t put that on them… this is your frustration. It’s OKAY Gabriele, life may not be neat and tidy, but there’s beauty in the chaos.
Perhaps, because God is familiar with you, He’ll use some catch-phrases that only a Father would and that your ears can pick out in an auditorium. Just little quotes that will redirect you. He may choose to use someone else’s voice to speak it to you. Or maybe He’ll choose to use a literal billboard. All I know is that OUR GOD SPEAKS. Have you taken time to listen to His voice today?
Write this way: Spend some time meditating on scripture in a new way; possibly while taking a walk or sitting in a place of solitude and quiet. Write in your journal what the experience was like for you. Don’t worry if it isn’t comfortable yet! Keep going. God is anxious to speak His love to you.
About the Author:
Gabriele Replogle is a Midwestern farm managers’ daughter, Biblical Literature and Philosophy Taylor University graduate. She had big dreams of one day becoming missionary of the year, to find that her mission was to truly learn to love her literal neighbors and that true love isn’t abstract but in the particulars. She got her Masters of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Counseling from Multnomah Seminary in Portland Oregon. She currently resides in the Muncie, Indiana with her husband and four kids in her humble, often fumbling practice of meditating in the madness of each moment.