The sound of water can be so soothing—the gurgle of a brook, the rhythmic lap of waves on a shore, or the splashing of children playing in a swimming pool. The sound of water can be exhilarating—just ask a dedicated white-water rafter or champion swimmer. But the sound of water can also be alarming—especially when it is the roar of rushing water.
Rushing, roaring water makes us wary because it is always a potent force and is often evidence of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a tsunami, or a flood. Obstacles to flowing water such as immense rocks or the narrowing of a channel can also create the roar of rushing water, as can its plummet from one level to another. And, as Ezekiel experienced, so can God’s presence.
It was God’s presence returning to the Temple in Jerusalem that gave Ezekiel firsthand knowledge of the sound of God’s overwhelming power. “Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory” (Ezek. 43:2). God’s presence was such a powerful, holy force that it caused the air being displaced by it to sound like the roar of rushing water. Ezekiel said he was so overcome by the sound and the glory of God’s presence that he “fell down before him with my face in the dust” (Ezek. 43:3).
Ezekiel not only heard the presence of God, he felt the presence of God, and he saw its grandeur. It is unlikely that he could ever doubt God’s power or presence after that experience.
But we are not Ezekiel. Most of us will never experience God’s presence in such a dramatic way in this life. Our experiences with God will more than likely be quieter times. Often, these times are so quiet that they cause us to begin to doubt God’s presence. This may happen when the obstacles in our lives are so loud that they drown out our ability to sense God’s presence with us. Or it may be when our lives are serene and we wait to hear the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit but do not. It can even be when we are seeking God with all of our heart, mind, and soul but we only sense His silence.
These are the times when we may long to hear, feel, or see God’s presence as Ezekiel did. But we must practice walking with God by faith alone and not by sight or by sound (2 Cor. 5:7). Most importantly, we must remember that even though God’s presence sounded like the roar of rushing water as He entered the Temple, once His presence filled the Temple, there was silence. But He was still there.
As He is with us.
© 2010 Arlina Yates