Have you ever noticed how noisy your environment is only after the noise is gone? We used to live in a suburb where the police helicopter would need to sweep by on a regular basis, and after initially hearing it every time, after a few weeks we would only notice if it was hovering on a weeknight, rather than a weekend. Then we moved to a house near a train line. Again, after a few weeks we didn’t notice the sound of the trains thundering past until we spent a night in a location not near a train line. On both of these occasions, however, we noticed the noise was missing as soon as we spent some nights at a different location. It became very obvious how desensitized to the constant noise we had become.
Sometimes we can become immune to just how much noise is included in our days. In these times when we have been forced to disengage from some of our regular activities I am wondering if you notice the absence of noise?
In today’s reading we find Elijah having a conversation with God, after he had traveled a great distance over 40 days and spent the night in a cave. In the chapter before this one we can find the famous story of Elijah facing off the 450 prophets of Baal in trying to determine who was greater, Yahweh (our God) or Baal. Elijah convincingly defeated the prophets and despite being on an emotional and spiritual high we discover him in fear for his life and asking to die.
God asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (v9). Elijah gives Him a list of his pity party credentials and God takes notice and says He is going to do something unusual by sharing His presence with Elijah. This has not happened since the times of Moses.
So as Elijah stands waiting for the presence of the Lord and the first experience is a wind, so strong that it tears apart the mountain. If it was me, I would have expected that the almighty creator of the universe would absolutely be in something so powerful, but He wasn’t. Next was the earthquake, but again God was not in the force that shook the earth. After that came a fire and we know the force of fire in this country, but Elijah did not identify God there either.
After all of these noisy, violent, mighty events there came a gentle whisper. As soon as Elijah heard this he went out to stand in the mouth of the cave to meet with God. It reminds me of a great tool for parents and teachers. The louder the children are, the softer you speak.
Sometimes noise can be frightening, and as our fear and anxiety take over we become unable to focus on anything else. I believe that God knew that with Elijah. He was struggling, and needed to hear reassurance from God, that it was going to be okay. God delivered. He always does, and not always as we would expect.
Make sure you take the time to listen for His voice above the noise and chaos that can surround. He is there and He wants to speak with you.