In December my daughter gave me a kitchen towel that said, “I want a Christmas that whispers JESUS.” Good reminder to keep a sharp focus on the One who is supposed to be the honoree of all that keeps us occupied, right? I wonder if a good New Year’s motto might be, “I want a year that whispers JESUS.” What would this mean?
For a child, whispering can be a useful way to share a secret. For the teacher, it can be a technique to get students’ attention when yelling doesn’t succeed. A whisper might carry a vicious, verbal attack. It can also carry a response of awe to some spectacular beauty. For me whispering is part of intimacy, and that is what I want to make a hallmark of the coming year. I want closeness with our Savior that enables me to hear from him, even when he whispers.
For those of you in my generation, a hymn book is a familiar resource. Most mornings, before I’m fully awake, I like to recite the words of a beautiful song, “When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries: May Jesus Christ be praised! Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair. May Jesus Christ be praised!” Sometimes I wake with the thought of a person on my mind. I’m quiet with this impression, interceding for the family member or friend until it has lifted. Could this be a whisper from our Savior?
I fall asleep quickly so my day’s end examen can be very short. But I do try to include the words of this hymn: “All the way my Savior leads me. What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt his tender mercy, Who this day has been my guide? Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell. For I know whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.” When Frank was alive we tried to give ‘spiritual book-ends’ to our day – times when, together, we sat with the Savior. How well we maintained that awareness of Jesus’ presence throughout the day probably left much to be desired.
And so that is something I continue to struggle with. As Brother Lawrence did, so I seek to hear Jesus whispering in my ear all day long. Especially when I’m distracted by overwhelming, worrisome thoughts, or anxiety attacks, I want to quickly ‘see in this a chance to trust!’ And even when happiness registers high on my emotional meter, contentment with a job well done – to remember that these, too, are worthy of his whispered response of love.
Finally, in this noise-polluted world, how are we to convey these things to the children we love? Setting quiet ‘zones’ in our home may be one way. This may be meal times, or deliberate periods when everyone goes about without technology of any kind. Maybe we could be brave enough to replace technology with face-to-face interaction and do this often enough to be comfortable with each other, learning to communicate without rancor. Together we can hear Jesus whisper. And, in our class times with children, can we also create ‘quiet’ spaces? This may be a worship center or even an actual tent where a child or two can go to be still and know that God is ever present – to sense that Jesus extends his love to them by His spirit.
I invite you to think on these things. Share ways you’ve found for listening to Jesus’ whispers.
May we hear Jesus whisper peace to our heart. John 16:33