The Lord said, “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?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Elijah was scared. Which is surprising, because he had just shown up 450 prophets of Baal and proved that HIS God was stronger. His God was the one that brought down fire and burned up a soaked offering. His God was the one who ended a 3-year drought. The prophets of Baal, on the other hand, did nothing. But what happened? Jezebel, the angry queen of Israel, the one who supported Baal worship in Israel, swore that she would kill Elijah.
Elijah ran. He ran and fled to a mountain, and there wanted to die. But God had other plans. God still wanted to use Elijah. God fed Elijah, gave him a place to sleep…appeared to him. Now, you might expect God to reveal himself in a huge, powerful sort of way. After all, he is the all-powerful Lord of the universe. But notice what our reading said. God was not in the powerful wind…or the earthquake…. OR in the fire. He was in the gentle wind. Weird, isn’t’ it?
Although no scary, powerful queen wants to kill us, other troubles and sufferings chase us down. And when THEY come knocking, WE go running. But in the middle of all these attacks, a gentle, quiet whisper comforts us. After the unending cycle of bills and work each work, God says, “I paid for your life.” To the old car that just can’t seem to stay fixed, he whispers, “I fixed YOUR sins on the cross.” When you and your partner seem to argue every week, a voice gently states, “You BOTH are saved in my eyes.” You see the strained relationship with one of your kids, and God leans in, “With me you have a perfect relationship.” The constant longing for a more fulfilling or engaging job, and that whisper comes, “Your longing for something better is complete in the hope of heaven.” The drugs and alcohol that just won’t go away from you or those you love, but that voice says, “You have freedom from sin in me.” So many problems surround us and attack us from every angle. You just want to throw your hands in the air and say, “I quit!” But the gentle, quiet whisper of God is your hope, your comfort, your salvation from these attacks.
Elijah expected God to be in the wind, earthquake, or fire. But he wasn’t. God was in the gentle whisper. That’s something Elijah DIDN’T expect. God choose something so small, so little, so insignificant, as the way he appeared to Elijah. God saved US in an unexpected way. He sent his son to die in OUR place, and he gives US eternal life. Paul tells us in his letter to Corinth, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
By: Orie Thomford