As is common in zoos, most employees at my zoo carry walkie talkies so we can communicate throughout the park. Being able to make a zoo wide announcement about a lost child or call the vet about a sick animal without trying to get them on the phone makes a big difference. Recently, there have been a few incidences of interference on our radios that make it impossible for people to use them. It sounds like the channel is “open” without anyone talking. This can happen if you are somehow leaning on the broadcast button without knowing it. We tend to call it “sitting on your radio.”
For about 15 minutes this morning, the radio was emitting a quiet static, interrupted only by the occasional robotic squawk as someone else tried to talk. Eventually, the static of an open radio channel went away as someone stood up off of their radio. Almost as soon as the channel cleared, the people who had been unable to communicate started taking it in turns to make their calls: “Ready to shift Polar Bears onto exhibit,” “The pump is up and running again,” and “Are you ready for a garbage pick up?”
I wondered what the person who had been sitting on their radio must have thought about the prolonged radio silence and then sudden burst of activity. It may have even been annoying if they were waiting for someone to call them that whole time, not knowing that they were the ones preventing the call from coming. That made me think about how often we think God is silent. We may even be waiting specifically to hear from Him but there is just silence between us. We tend to blame God for not speaking. I’m sure it is more common for us to not be listening. Sometimes we’re even actively blocking Him out! I have ears capable of hearing, but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m always listening. Anyone who has ever said “I’m sorry. What did you say?” knows that distractions – both other sounds and intruding thoughts – can keep us from actually hearing and taking in what someone has said. Isaiah 42:20 says, “You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.” Even Jesus, who had crowds of people following Him around to hear Him speak, said in Matthew 13:13 “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”
Just as someone who is accidentally leaning on their walkie talkie isn’t meaning to block people out, we may not be purposefully tuning out God’s voice. We may simply need to purposefully listen.
Micah 1:2a “Listen, all you peoples; pay attention, earth and everyone in it!”
John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”