I have said this before but I don’t think I can say it enough: I love books by Frank Boreham. He was a pastor and prolific writer in New Zealand. His works are very pastoral and comforting. They are not hard theology and yet he always manages to say something which challenges me and makes me think. Some of his other works which I have reviewed are Mushrooms on the Moor and A Handful of Stars. Most recently I have been reading his book The Whisper of God.
Like Boreham’s other book, this one is a collection of writings, in this case sermons. Also as in his other books, some of the essays/chapters are better than others. In The Whisper of God I would say the first one alone makes the book worth buying and reading. It was wonderful and very comforting for anyone who ever wonders why God seems silent, why the wicked seem to, or how we are to know God’s specific will for us. That’s quite a lost actually; you can see that that would include all Christians at one time or another.
The title of the book comes from this first chapter. Boreham speaks in it of why God whispers and how He whispers in our lives. He begins with a quote from Job that says essentially “we only hear a whisper of Him.” He expands upon this to say that for all we see or know of God in this life, it is but a whisper of who and what he really is. I love what He has to say about God’s works:
“A little child can admire a lily; but only a botanist can fully appreciate it. A landscape painter may be delighted with a piece of mountain scenery; but the geologist sees in it a greater grandeur still. With the work of man familiarity breeds contempt, and distance lends enchantment to the view. With he work of God the very opposite is the case.” (Kindle loc. 41)
In other words, the more we know of and study God’s creation, the more amazing it is. Kind of makes you want to do nature study more regularly, huh?
Boreham then switches focus slightly and begins to discuss how God works and communicates in our lives. Though we may at times, perhaps even often, not see God working in our lives, he reminds us that God is very actively involved. He is not the stand-offish God of the deists that set the world in motion and then lets it take its course. If He seems distant, it is not because He is inactive in our lives and world, but because He is so active. God is not like the person who stands around talking about what He will do but does nothing; He is the one who is always busy doing but not necessarily drawing our attention overtly to His work. As Boreham reminds us: “Silence does not mean inactivity any more than noise means power” (loc. 116) and again: “God is so wonderfully silent because He is so wonderfully active” (loc. 124).
If we are ever tempted, like the people of Jesus’ day, to demand more and greater signs, Boreham counsels us to be content with God’s whispers:
“A whisper from God is enough to tell me that God is; it is enough to tell me that He cares for me, for He whispers to me.” (loc. 125)
This is how God chooses to work in our day — mostly in silence and soft whispers. But when we are desperate, when we most need it, He is always there whispering to give us the encouragement we need when we need it. As the mother of a son who is learning to play the bagpipes, I can appreciate the analogy Boreham makes. He says that the whispers of God are like the sound of distant bagpipes; they are loud and can be heard from far away, and when you heard them over the Scottish hills, you knew help was coming.
We must not be greedy then for more from God. n the past He may have spoken louder to His people; after all, to Moses he was a burning bush, fire, smoke and thunder, but to Elijah He was only the soft voice. Now, after Christ has come and when we have his Word, Boreham says that “He never works by miracles if He can achieve the same end by the instrumentality of natural laws” (loc. 175). We may be tempted to despise these natural means of action and desire the miracles, but we must remember that the natural laws were set up by Him too. And if what we desire is to know His will for us specifically, Boreham says that “He never gives special dreams, or voices, or revelations if Scripture will do” (loc. 178).
I will do a few more posts on thoughts that arose from the other essays in this book. I highly recommend reading it for yourself though, and probably anything else Boreham wrote that you can get your hands on. If you are in need of comfort or encouragement in your life, his works will speak right to you.