“LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!” My mom and my kids stopped their chatter and chores and stared at me like I had lost my mind. I just continued yelling nonsensical things at the top of my lungs, disregarding their stares. I was panicked and didn’t know what else to do: the ice cream man was on our street!
I don’t know what drove me to it. Maybe it was the torture of their puppy-dog eyes pleading with me for overpriced confections. Maybe it was my budget screaming because I’d finally pinched it enough to draw blood. Maybe it was because I knew that I could walk down the street to the store and buy an entire box of assorted frozen yummies for the price of one frozen spongebob-on-a-stick with tiny gumball eyes. Whatever it was, I was filled with dread the moment I heard his familiar jingle in the air. That’s why I started yelling. And from then on, we kept up this routine every time the ice cream man stalked our street, which happened seemingly way too often. Two or three times a week is a bit much, don’t you think?
My kids had no idea why my mom and I would spontaneously begin yelling things at any given hour of the day that summer. Their initial response was confusion, but as time wore on, they responded with joy and giddiness, until finally, they responded with much contempt and irritation. They never got it. They never realized, until a whole year later, when it all started again and they watched him turn past our house, why we were yelling. Then it finally dawned on them: we’d been distracting them from hearing the ice cream man. It was the best trick I’ve ever been the author of!
My recollection of this today was a very sobering thing. There was no joy in it. After all, the remembrance came about when it finally dawned on me why so many things are screaming in my own life. I realized today that just like I had done to my kids, I am being distracted. After all, I had heard it. A soft ring in the air. A faint whisper of His nearness. The voice of God. Not thundering, but gradually growing louder as the distance between us disappeared. There I was, inclining my ear to listen, when all of the sudden, senseless noise drowned it all out and I stood with a confused look on my face wondering what was happening.
Isn’t it just like the devil to steal from us the precious things that make life meaningful? The whispers from God that strengthen us, that fill us with love and joy and gladness and peace. His voice, which is what we live for, drowned out by a louder and more demanding shout. Satan, creating a chaotic noise with lesser things, robs us of the most beautiful experience ever made available to man: communion with our creator.
Under the noise of our biological clocks ticking away and under the commotion of our emotions running frantic, there’s still a gentle whisper. Beneath the loud, paralyzing accusations of our enemy there’s a voice speaking. Do you want to know why your head is splitting from the noise in your life? God is speaking. Still speaking. And Satan and his cronies are doing their best to keep you from hearing it. Why? Well, I could say contempt and be right. I could examine all the motives the devil may have for distracting a child of God, but the one that stands at the forefront of my mind is this: He’s panicked. He knows what will happen when you hear the voice of your Beloved calling you. He knows the joy that will spring up in you, the excitement, the desire. The need you have to be near God that will pulse through you when you hear His voice: Satan knows it well. He knows the satisfaction it will bring you to be intimately close to the Lord, communing with Him. Being liberated by Him. Being loved by Him. Basking in the light of His Shekinah glory. Walking hand in hand with the one who makes your heart soar. Satan can’t stand it. He’s desperate to keep you from God, because away from God, you are more his and less His.