Like A Whisper

Hey, if God will send his angels
And if God will send a sign
And if God will send his angels
Would everything be alright?

–“If God Would Send His Angels” by U2

The world watches and waits but doesn’t hold its breath to remain silent. Instead, it roars out loud about everything. Voices filled with blame and fear and hysteria and conspiracy. 

I always wake up with a thousand thoughts—many worries and wanderings—and end the day with ten thousand more. I seldom if ever share them online. Lately, however, I haven’t fully been able to make sense of anything with the world suddenly being put on pause with the coronavirus. 

God is in control. I believe that now as strongly as I’ve ever believed it. And I very much believe in this quote Bono gave in U2 by U2:

“It’s a world of wild and unexpected winds, earthquakes, and tsunamis where accidents can happen. I don’t blame God for them. I think this is what happened when we threw God out of the garden, which is my own interpretation of what happened in Eden!”

I’ve been journeying with Bono the past year as I’ve been working on a biography of him. It’s been an incredible and honestly intense project that has been inspiring and also exhausting. With so much talk and talk and talk going on about the world we live in and life in general, I thought of this story Bono shared with his school friend, Neil McCormick. This was in 1981 when Bono was 21 years old and U2 was taking off. He shared this story with Neil, someone he knew didn’t share the same faith he believed in. 

“D’you know the story of Elijah going up to a cave where he has been told he will hear the voice of God? It’s in the Bible. Elijah gets to the cave and goes in but there’s nothing there, so he waits and eventually he hears a roll of thunder. He thinks ‘ah yes the voice of God!’ and goes to the entrance of the cave . . . But the thunder rolls again and he doesn’t hear God. So he goes back in the cave and waits. Then he sees a bolt of lightning flash across the sky and he thinks ‘ah, of course, the voice of God.’ Goes back to the entrance of the cave and waits . . . But God says nothing. And he starts to think maybe he’s been misled—maybe there is no God, whatever is going through his mind. Then a small puff of wind blows into the cave and he hears it, like a whisper, the voice of God . . .”

Bono pauses for dramatic effect. 

“I always liked the idea that God is in the small things. And when it gets too noisy and fucking crazy, and I’m running around like a madman, I have to quiet myself down to get in touch with God.” 

This is one of the thousands of ways I can identify with Bono. No . . . make that one of ten thousand ways. I get it. These days feel noisy and crazy and I feel like my mind and heart are running around like a madman, more than they usually are. 

Shut up, Travis. Be quiet and listen. 

Advice from a man who calls himself a mouthy Irishman. I’ll take it. 

Hey, if God will send his angels
I sure could use them here right now
Well, if God will send his angels…

Where do we go?
Where do we go