Years ago I when I gleefully swapped out the cassette player in my car for a fancy in-dash CD player, I would have never predicted that in 2017 I would regret not having a cassette player in our family van. I certainly don’t miss cassettes, and my wife doesn’t miss having to share the passenger seat with a giant box full of them. I don’t even know where my cassette collection is; most likely it is scattered among thrift stores and landfills across the nation. The real reason I wish we had a cassette player is simply because I dislike having to use an FM radio transmitter.
Now, I use my phone or MP3 player exclusively to listen to music in our car. If we had a cassette player we could just use a cassette adapter to plug the phone in. Since installing a whole new stereo with Bluetooth or even an auxiliary input isn’t a budget priority right now, we use an FM transmitter, a device that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket and “broadcasts” your music on an FM frequency that your car’s radio can then pick up. It’s a great principle in theory, but in reality it can be a bit problematic.
The biggest issue with an FM transmitter is that can only (by design according to regulations) broadcast a very low power signal. It’s great when there are no other broadcasts around, but the moment a radio station with even moderate signal shows up on the same frequency, your own music gets overpowered. On trips to Anchorage it works great in the pass, but the moment we start to descend toward the Turnagain Arm and all of Anchorage’s radio traffic it becomes impossible to find a quiet frequency.
Listening to God’s voice speak in our hearts is often a similar exercise. Sometimes God can and does speak loudly in obvious ways to us. I have found, however, that is often the exception and not the rule. Many more times God tends to speak to us in a whisper. The prophet Elijah experienced this in the desert when he was in a desperate situation and desperately needed to hear from God.
1 Kings 19:11-13 records “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
As opposed to the dramatic images of wind, earthquakes, and fire, God often speaks to us in “still small voice.” It causes to lean in, to focus on what He’s saying. We have to cut through the noise, find a quiet frequency, and listen. Life is loud and full of distractions, and we will find that the voice of God can easily be drowned out by the noise of life.
If you want to experience the regular life giving voice of God in your life, then you will need to take the time and effort to find a quiet frequency. Whether it’s a closet, a bench in the backyard, a beach, or an early morning kitchen table, carve out that uninterrupted, regular space where you can take a Bible and listen for the always available signal of God’s Spirit. No adapters required.
Pastor Grant Parkki is the Young Adults and Christian Education Pastor at Kenai New Life. You can find out more about the church and its ministries at kenainewlife.org.