Here is an interesting little observation. Nearly all groups have at least one chatterbox. Surely, among your circle of friends, at least one of them would be considered a chatterbox, tending to dominate nearly all conversations. I know that’s the case among my wonderful circle of friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love them dearly! I count most of them among my closest friends. I wouldn’t trade any one of them. I want to have them around me, I enjoy being with them. That’s just one among many of their defining traits. It’s part of the fabric from which they are cut..Chatterboxes are usually very interesting. They are often the life of the party. We nearly always enjoy their stories. By the end of our visits we know all about what’s been going on in their lives. We know them well! Their lives are open books.
However, I must admit that I sometimes wish they had more interest in hearing from us—where we’ve been, what we have done, and what we might have to say. I often wonder how they gain any knowledge of the rest of the group. It would appear that they certainly didn’t hear it from any of us insofar as when we’re together, they talk, we listen. We cannot get in a word edgewise.
On the other hand, on numerous occasions I have suddenly realized that I was being the chatterbox in the room. I was dominating the conversation—where I’ve been—what I’ve been doing; or expounding at length on my religious or political or social views. On such occasions, I was not engaged in dialogue, I was delivering a monologue, after which I often became ruefully aware that I had been doing all the talking while everyone else was doing the listening. Those are times when I wish I had taken the time to be a good listener rather than the self appointed chatterbox in the room. Who knows? Someone else may have had a worthwhile opinion or statement; someone else may have had a bit of news (good or bad) that would have piqued the interest of all the rest of us. Someone else may have had some wisdom or advise or experience which would have been of benefit to all of us. But because I didn’t take time to listen, we all missed it.
Of greater gravity than that, I dare say practically all of us become the chatterboxes in our conversations with the LORD. Our prayer life is predominately monologue—rarely dialogue. (I say that assuming that most of God’s children are like me in that respect…) We rarely engage in conversations with Him with the intent of being good listeners. It would seem that we have no interest in anything He might have to say. Our monologues are all about us—our wishes and desires—what we need from Him—what we want Him to do for us. About the only time we call merely to thank Him for something He has done for us is the obligatory ‘blessing’ before our meals. Even then, we do all the talking and expect Him to do all the listening.
And yet, He loves us dearly in spite of our propensity to be chatterboxes. He knows us better than we know ourselves and accepts that as being one of our defining traits. Even so, He enjoys our company, He wants to be around us, He loves to hear from us even if our prayers are all about us. Each and every one of our prayers wafts its way to His throne and becomes a sweet aroma in His nostrils; all the while knowing that He could readily offer encouragement or advise on how to make our lives more abundant and rich. But, we miss it. We are so intent on doing all the talking that we routinely fail to hear what He might have to say. We seem uninterested in getting better acquainted with Him and His desires and wishes. We hardly ever allow Him to get in a word edgewise.
There is a very interesting story on that subject in the nineteenth chapter of 1 Kings. An infamous old hussy named Jezebel had threatened the great prophet Elijah and instead of standing up to her like a true man of God, he tucked his tail and ran like a coward and hid in a cave (not unlike many of us) and was having a pity party (also not unlike many of us).
It was during his pity party that he got into a conversation with God. Wow! That sounds like reading a page right out of my life. Anyway, when all was said and done, we will notice how softly and subtle the Lord is when He speaks. If Elijah hadn’t been listening closely, he would have missed what God had to say. Let’s pick up the story in verse 9. “And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” Then He (the Lord) said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” 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; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:9-12 NKJV).
Hmm, a still small voice! Our Almighty God doesn’t bully His way into our conversations with a voice of thunder; He gently speaks with a still small voice. He speaks softly to us through our conscience, He speaks to us through lessons happening all around us, He speaks to us through His Holy Word, He even speaks to us during the wee hours when we are otherwise sound asleep. How often have we gone to sleep with one of life’s questions, only to awaken with God’s answers.
And if we want to live more stress free, abundant lives, we must take a lesson from Elijah’s conversation with the Lord. We need to be quiet and listen intently in order to hear still small voice of Almighty God. If we are too busy doing all the talking—too busy to listen, we will surely miss anything He has to say to us. It’s our loss.