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Why is it always in the middle of the night?

You know what I’m talking about. You are sound asleep, rest finally consuming you after a long day. And then you hear it.

Beep. Beep.

At first you aren’t sure why you are waking up. Was it a dream? Maybe a car outside. But it’s silent so you settle back down in your pillow. And just as you close your eyes…

Beep. Beep.

Yep, there it is. 3:30AM and the batteries in the smoke detector are getting low. Why does it always happen in the middle of the night? Those batteries could just as easily go dead in the middle of the day. But no – they wait until the house is silent. It’s like they know that this is the time when they are most likely to be heard the loudest.

Sort of like God.

I know God speaks all of the time. He is all around me every minute of every day. But how often do I actually hear Him? Confession time – not very often because I’m simply not listening. I don’t take the time as often as I should to just be still and listen for His voice. I pray everyday but there are times, even in my prayer moments, that my mind wonders to the list of things to be accomplished and I end up tuning Him out. Do you ever do that?

As I look back over the last year of my life, how many times have I missed God’s voice because of all the chaos that I allow to consume me? How often has He used others to speak to me and I have simply tuned them out thinking I know better? It’s enough to make me cry. I don’t want to miss out on Him anymore.

I think, like that smoke detector, alerting me in the most silent part of the night that it needs attention, God does that too. He requires of us to be still. At least eight times, God commands for us to be still.

Exodus 14:14
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Nehemiah 8:11
The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve.”

Job 6:24
Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.

Psalm 23:1-3
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Zechariah 2:13
Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Mark 4:39
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Think about that – He wants us to take the time to be still and listen to Him. When we are constantly on the move, constantly surrounded in noise, how can we possibly hear Him? We can’t. Like that smoke detector, I would not have heard it if it had been in the middle of the day and the TV was on. It took that quietness of the night, when everyone was at rest, for my attention to be directed to it.

After changing the battery, and settling back into bed, I couldn’t help but think about God and how He works. Only God would use a common household item to get my attention to focus on Him. As we enter into this Holy season, the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming. Our calendars are jammed with parties and shopping and “holiday cheer.” But are we really experiencing the meaning of Christmas? Are we taking the time to focus on Jesus Christ? This should be a time of peace and tranquility but instead we tend to shut God out more then ever during this time of year. We no longer hear Him because we don’t take the time to listen. Peace is there for each us because of the grace of God but peace must start within our own souls. And it can only be found when we take the moments that God has given us to focus on Him and Him alone. Instead of saying “I’m too busy,” we need to say “I’m never too busy to spend time with you, God.” He will calm the winds and the waves in your life if you will only be still.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the alert sounds in my life that let me know that you want to be heard if only I will be still long enough to listen. Forgive me to thinking I’m too busy to slow down. Help me to slow down and seek your voice in everything I do. Amen.