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“And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:12b (NIV)
Have you ever been on a spiritual high? A place where you were seeing and feeling God really move? But then, there’s a sudden crash. The wonderment of God’s presence suddenly turns to a feeling of overwhelming fear and oppression.
Elijah experienced such a situation. God had been using him in mighty ways. Following the direction of God, Elijah confronted King Ahab and the people who were following the Baals. The false prophets and all the people assembled to watch the showdown between the false god and the one true God. The prophets of Baal built an altar and cried out to their god to answer from heaven with fire to consume their sacrifice. All day long they cried out, but their god did not answer. Then Elijah built an altar before God and prayed. Fire from heaven consumed the sacrifice and altar. All the people cried out, “The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!” 1 Kings 18:39 (NIV).
However, after that awesome display of God’s power, Elijah fled. He went to the wilderness and cried out for God to let him die. But God didn’t let Elijah stay in that state. The angel of the Lord brought nourishment to Elijah, twice. Then Elijah was told to go up to the mountain to see the Lord.
Once Elijah got to the mountain, the Lord spoke to him, telling him where to stand to see the Lord pass by. Then there was a powerful wind, but the Lord was not in the wind. There was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. There was a raging fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. But then … then came a gentle whisper, and the Lord spoke to Elijah.
Have you ever noticed that when someone is speaking quietly, we lean in a little closer, concentrate a little more deeply and hang on their every word? I think that is why God whispers. He wants us to lean in a little closer, concentrate on Him a little more deeply and hang onto His every word. When we do that He can then reveal to us how He’s been there with us all along.
The Lord listened to Elijah tell Him what was bothering him. But then He told Elijah to go back the way he came. God gave him another assignment and the strength to carry out that assignment just as He had equipped him in the past.
Do you get weary doing the Lord’s work? Are you weary because you are not doing what He’s asked you to do? Either way, what do we do when we feel oppressed or tired or useless? We listen.
Am I saying that I always hear Him speak? No. Sometimes all I hear is the wind blowing, the fires roaring and feel my world shaking. But even then, God is there. During those times when we can’t hear His whispers, maybe He is waiting for us to call out to Him. Then when the storm is over and He sees we have leaned in a little closer, are listening a little more intently, He can speak.
So when you are going through things and find yourself tired, physically, mentally and spiritually, go to the Lord’s mountain. Allow Him to nourish and feed your soul. Tell Him how you are feeling. Allow time for the noise to cease as you just wait before Him. And then lean in a little more closely and listen for His whispers.
Heavenly Father, thank you, Lord, for Your love. Thank you that even during the storms, even when I can’t hear or feel You, I know You are there. Thank You for patiently caring for me when I feel alone. And in those precious moments when I do hear Your gentle whispers, I praise You, Lord, for speaking. May I always keep an attentive ear so that I may always hear what You want to say. I love You, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.