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It was just supposed to be a relaxing get-away, but God spoke to my heart amidst the rugged beauty of the Ozark mountains.

Last week my teen sons and I were able to sneak away for a couple days to the beautiful Buffalo National River region of Arkansas. We stayed in a cabin nestled atop one of the rolling hills, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in nature.

We spent the daylight hours hiking and climbing, and in the evening, we played games in our cabin. It was quiet, peaceful and secluded in our little corner of “Nature’s Paradise,” as the travel brochure called it. 🙂

Except for answering a few texts on my phone, we unplugged from technology. We ate way too much food, played all ten phases of Phase 10 (That took awhile!) and had a somewhat passive-aggressive game of Monopoly. 🙂 (Don’t worry—the “dealing” was accompanied by much laughter!)

The trip provided a welcome break from the daily routine of work and school, and we enjoyed having extra time to spend together as a family.

God so often uses the things in my life to teach me, and this time He used the Ozark mountains to whisper His wisdom to my heart.

The first lesson came in the form of sounds. 

During our time at the cabin and while hiking in the woods, I heard sounds that I don’t hear in my regular day-to-day life. As I sat on the porch of our cabin, I heard crickets chirping and birds singing. As we walked the trails, I heard the breeze stirring the trees and leaves falling to the forest floor.

Why don’t I hear these things at my house? We have trees, birds, and crickets in our yard. The breeze blows in our part of the Ozarks just as it does in the mountains of Arkansas.

It’s not that these sounds aren’t present at my home.

It’s that the noise of our little Ozark town drowns them out.

Just like the voice of God is drowned out when I allow my life to become overtaken by the noise of this world. 

God is always speaking, but when I allow the noise of my life to overcome His voice, I can’t hear Him.

His voice speaks through His written Word, but I must pick it up and read it.

His voice speaks through the notes and lyrics of hymns and songs, but I must slow down and listen.

His voice speaks through the smile of a family member, the color of a sunset, the tiniest flower along the sidewalk, but I have to slow down and notice.

Several years ago, I found this quote and wrote it inside the cover of my Bible:

“There is hardly ever a complete silence in the soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear the whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.” (FW Faber) 

What are some “noises” we constantly battle in our lives? Here’s a few I can think of:

—technology, in the form of phones, TV, tablets, etc.

—saying yes to too many things, being overly busy

—entertainment

—work

The list could go on. What are some specific things that drown out God’s voice in your life? What can you do to nurture a place of quietness in your life and soul—a place where God can speak to you?

I came away from our little trip not only refreshed physically, but also with a renewed desire to quiet my heart, slow down, and listen for the voice of God.

Although it’s not always possible to get away on a mini-vacation to seek quietness, we can change the “noise level” of how we live. Let’s commit to carving out quietness in our lives so we can hear the voice of God.

 

“…but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still, small voice.” {I Kings 19:11-12}

 

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” {Psalm 27:8}

 

Join me next week for Lessons Learned in an Arkansas Cabin, Part Two. See you then! 🙂