God’s Gentle Whisper (24-01-22)
Bible Reading: 1 Kings 19:11-13
The Lord said to Elijah, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord,
for the Lord is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face
and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
I wonder how often we lurch from the highs of life to the lows of life and wonder, ‘What has changed?’ I remember in my former work, which included running company training programmes, returning home from a challenging two or three days leading a training event to spending the following day with a migraine. The same sense of deflation could happen when returning home after a holiday or from a night out, or even from church.
Elijah has just come from an amazing ‘mountain-top’ experience where, with the help of God, he has challenged and defeated the prophets of Baal. This ‘mountain-top’ experience was then followed immediately by a direct challenge on his life which left him ‘in the valley of the shadow of death’ and literally fleeing for his life. After forty days Elijah ends up on another mountain, hiding in a cave and ready to jack it all in.
Yet, even there, he finds God.
There are a lot of things in our lives clamouring for our attention and trying to influence us. In his mountain cave Elijah encountered the ferocity of a hurricane, the shaking of an earthquake and the destroying power of a fire. Surely God was speaking to him through these massive events!
But Elijah didn’t find God in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. Rather he found God in the gentle whisper or, as the hymn writer puts it, in the ‘still small voice of calm’.
In the clamour of so much information and opinion going on around us, and portrayed continually in the media, it can be easy to miss God's gentle voice of calm. But it is God’s gentle voice that will enable us to handle the successes of life with grace and humility, it is God’s gentle voice that will reassure us and give us hope when it feels as if we are wandering in the valley of the shadow of death, and it is God’s gentle voice that will sustain us and encourage us amidst all the noise of life.
If you feel challenged by those opposed to the ways of God, be assured, God is with you. If you feel threatened and in a dark valley, God is with you. If you are struggling to hear God amidst the clamour of daily life, God is with you. Listen for him in the gentle whisper of his Spirit.
Almighty God, keep me humble when life goes well,
faithful when life is tough,
and help me to hear your gentle whisper amidst the hubbub of life.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind.