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The Still, Small Voice

A father bonding with his infant son muses over what defines an “abundant life.”

A infant, bundled up
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I’ve been up at night these days. My son Benjamin is seven weeks old and he awakens reliably at around two each morning to eat. Kate feeds him and I rock him back to sleep if he needs it.

Life goes on as normal but it’s those times rocking I remember. They’re like stones in a river, unmoving while all around rushes and tumbles.

We have a dark wood rocker in the living room. It makes the wood floors creak and gently pop. I sit staring into the dark, praying in my usual fractured way (I’m maddeningly distractible), holding little Benjamin in his swaddle, smelling his scalp, hearing his irregular breathing, a series of profound, difficult sighs.

Maybe those brief moments at night are the kernels of true life and everything else—work, the world, aspirations, anxieties—are so many layers of unnecessary clothing. I count on that passage in John’s gospel: “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” But I always wonder, what is abundant life?

Maybe that’s it, sitting in the dark, holding my little boy, lulling him to sleep, hearing the deep night settle and sigh around me. Why must abundance mean more? What about this, what Elijah witnessed: “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice.”

I’ve been up at night these days listening for the still, small voice.

Jim Hinch is a senior editor at GUIDEPOSTS. Reach him at jhinch@guideposts.org.

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