The Wild Calm: Alaska’s secret to Hearing God’s Voice
“Silence is indispensable if we hope to add depth to our spiritual life.”—Chuck Swindoll
I’ll admit it: I’m a workaholic. My normal routine is one of constant pressure—staying on top of everything, keeping up with a frantic schedule, meeting my own self-imposed expectations.
At home, my wife and daughter and I cope by dividing and conquering tasks. But I worry that approach has divided our family, too. In those rare times we’re together, we feel exhausted, distracted. We’re stretched too thin—even on Sundays at church. Everything competes for our attention, which means we focus too little on God and family.
Embracing quiet in a wild place
Then came our trip to Alaska. In the majesty of this wilderness, the stress melted away like chunks of ice calving off the Sawyer Glaciers. This Christian cruise gave us the opportunity to get away—to step out of our daily life for a week of worship, teaching, nature and rest. Yes, rest.
On the second day of our cruise, I got up early, grabbed some coffee and sat on the deck of our ship. It was quiet, away from the noise that had become my constant companion. The open sea, the salty breeze, and the wild glory of Alaska in the distance—these calmed my spirit like nothing else. I listened. I prayed. I read His Word. Then I got up the next morning and did it again.
A still, small voice
If the Spirit speaks in a “gentle whisper” like He spoke to Elijah, I won’t hear it in a constant clamor. I need times of quiet and calm in His presence—especially back at home.
One morning on the cruise I studied Psalm 90:
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
I turned and looked at actual mountains in the distance after I read that. Snowcapped peaks flanked by deep green forests. Blue sky overhead. The words “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” awakened me. He existed long before the Alaskan landscape. All this beauty came from Him, reflects Him, and glorifies Him. This tiny God-moment resonated with me as we stopped in Ketchikan to eat and shop and laugh together as a family.
Our time together was physically relaxing, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised how this cruise restored me spiritually, too. As we sailed back toward Seattle a couple days later, I asked myself: How do I bring this clarity home with me? How do I mute the noise so I can hear God?
I determined to build more moments of calm and quiet into my day. At home, I had to trim some things in order to make room. The constant blaring of the TV. My phone. My demanding schedule. Cutting things away can be painful, but like pruning a tree, it leads to better health.
The deeper communion with God, my wife, and my daughter are worth any discomfort. Now that I’m home, I’m deliberately creating times of stillness in His presence. I guess you could say I’m training my spirit to rest...and my ears to listen.