But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says Do not be afraid
And the voice of truth says
This is for My glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
– “Voice of Truth”, by Casting Crowns

I used to think that if I ever heard “God speak”, it would be in an audible voice- or at least a voice in my head giving instructions. But over the years I have come to realize that God usually chooses to speak quietly: a “still, small voice”, sometimes sounding like a whisper amid the ruckus of the world around me.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, was very intuned to God’s “voice”. He spoke to her directly and audibly through the angel, but there was also the quieter voice of the Holy Spirit that Mary chose to listen to. The voice that told her to not fear what her community would think or do, even though being found pregnant and betrothed could cause her to be stoned for adultery. The voice that told her not to worry about what Joseph would think, because God was sovereign, and He had everything all worked out. And even if the voice didn’t make sense to her human mind, her spirit was willing and obedient to His guidance and instruction.

Mary also knew to lean into the moment, to see God’s handiwork in her confusing but awesome circumstance. She stopped and praised her LORD for His faithfulness to her.

I have always loved Mary’s poetic song of praise in Luke: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (from Luke 1:46-55)

I imagine Mary’s joy and awe in that moment: the tears that gleamed in her eyes; her trembling hands lifted in worship; her lips quivering in a soft smile, knowing that God heard her, and saw her, and knew her.

We are surrounded by a culture that does not know God. We are surrounded by voices that try to say we cannot know God in a deep, intimate relationship. We are surrounded by voices speaking lies that almost sound like the truth. If we are not leaning into God and listening for His voice, how will we be able to discern Truth from falsehood? How will we be able to discern God’s voice amid the hundreds of other lying voices?

Like Mary, we must pause, refocus our minds, and praise our LORD for His faithfulness. We must pause and stop worrying about the trivial (or not so trivial) things that are distracting us from what God’s Word says.

So how do we pause to praise? For me, it often looks like going for a hike in the woods or writing poetry. I have to give myself time to slow down so that I can pay attention to little moments of wonder and beauty to see God’s heart and hear His still small voice.

How you pause to praise is not the most important thing- what matters is dropping your own thoughts, desires, and worries so that you can see God’s faithfulness at work. Mary had a heart of worship and obedience, despite having every reason to worry about her circumstances. When we have a heart of worship and obedience, the weight of our circumstances falls away in the light of God’s glory. Instead of listening to the voices of lies, let us tune into the voice of Truth.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8