Sacred Stories | Can You Hear Me in the Noise?

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:20

The building we worked in that day was crowded and noisy. We were a team of medical missionaries, working in a small village in Honduras. We were doctors, dentists, nurses, translators and helpers, busy with our tasks. As usual, a crowd gathered and clamored to see us. A gatekeeper was charged with monitoring the flow of patients we would serve. The environment was chaotic, with excitement, anxiety, fear, pain, desperation, relief, joy and laughter – all audible at the same time.

I struggled with why it had to be that way: why couldn’t it be quiet and calm? On that particular day, I got an answer, and it stunned me. I was busy and having a hard time hearing my own thoughts. For one brief moment, I just sat and listened to the cacophony surrounding me. That’s when a quiet little voice inside my head said, “Can you hear me in the noise?”

Such a simple message, but it made me stop and notice a much bigger reality. This was more than a noisy crowd seeking medical care and a group of health care providers trying to help. I heard and was aware of God’s very presence, audible at that moment, existing in the noise itself. God’s spirit was speaking, trying to be known to us in the voices of people asking for our ears to listen to their needs. He was present, not in spite of the noise, but actually within it. I had to let that sink in. As the day went on, from time to time I would listen to the little voice again.

Our conversations with God are often one-way, with us pouring out our needs and concerns. How wonderful it is to occasionally hear God say something directly to us, sometimes through scripture, liturgy or the wonders of nature. On that blessed day in Honduras, I realized more clearly that God is everywhere. In the desperate eyes of the vulnerable who come to see us, God is looking right at us. In our own hearts and heads, God whispers encouragement and instruction. God is wherever two or more of us connect in care, concern and love.

Back home in our clinics and hospitals, it is harder for me to hold on to this truth in the daily routine. I often find myself struggling and feeling put upon by the demands of the day. Why is that? If I take a moment to recall that wonderful day in Honduras, I can barely perceive a similar message: “I’m still here, even in this noise.” Then, I can once again grasp the call to be God’s hands, ears and voice for the next person I encounter.

Shared from the Sacred Stories Archive

Question for Reflection

When you find yourself struggling and being put upon by the demands of the day, how do you quiet the noise to be attentive to the quiet little voice inside your head?

How have you recently been God’s hands, ears and voice for someone?

About Sacred Stories

As CommonSpirit Health, we make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of
the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.

Sacred Stories convey ways our mission is being lived out by the gifted people in our ministry. We invite you to
use these stories for inspiration, as a meeting reflection, or to encourage discussion with your team.

If you have experienced God’s healing presence in your work, and are considering submitting a Sacred Story, please review our Sacred Story Guidelines and online submission form.